Happiness: The Chinese zombie ships of West Africa

Right now, I’m on board the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, off the coast of West Africa, working on a pirate fishing campaign. It’s been an expedition of extremes – the beauty of nature, and the harshness of human existence. Last week we visited an anchored fleet of rusting Chinese vessels, with marooned fisherman on board…

We’re in the big African Queen inflatable, cruising alongside an anchored trawler. It’s more rust than metal – the ship is rotting away. The foredeck is covered in broken machinery. The fish deck is littered with frayed cables, and the mast lies horizontally, hanging over the starboard side. A large rusty Chinese character hangs on railings above the bridge, facing forward. It reads ‘happiness’.
Read More: The Chinese Zombie Ships »
Boingboing.net: Chinese “ghost ship” fishing boats rotting off of W African coast, Thursday, March 30, 2006
I’ve been quoted in TIME!: Greenpeace Goes Fishing, Thursday, Mar. 30, 2006

Update 8th June 2006:
Mare Magazine: West Africa’s Zombie Ships by Dave Walsh
Mare.de in English

Chief Bottle Washer at Blather
Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of Blather.net, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.


  1. But they spelled your name wrong its Daev isn’t it?
    Anyway you were bigger than Time when your boat offered the other boat some rice and lentils.

  2. No, officially it’s Dave, which is a truncation of Hieronymus, as in Hieronymus Walsh. ‘daev’ is quicker and easier to type.

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