Smashing a bottle of bubbly across a freshly painted bow, actor/activist Ted Danson today (10 a.m. Jan. 14, 2005) christened Oceana's new ship, Ranger, and launched the international marine conservation group's first transoceanic expedition aboard one of the biggest catamarans in the world.
"Ranger will be Oceana's eyes and ears in the oceans, enhancing the work of our eight land-based offices with a distinctive in-the-water presence," said Danson, a member of Oceana's Board of Directors. "It will enable us to record visually the wonders of the deep as well as the horrors of what is happening to our oceans and the marine life they sustain. If we can make all this come alive in people's living rooms, we may get them to join our worldwide campaign to save the oceans."
After its official launch, Oceana's Ranger will depart Los Angeles on an 11,000-nautical-mile, 5-month voyage to document marine wildlife and habitat and the threats posed to them by pollution and destructive industrial fishing practices. The catamaran and its crew will travel to some of the most beautiful and threatened ocean hotspots in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and Europe, expecting to arrive in the Mediterranean in June.
Speaking at the public event in Marina Del Rey, Danson thanked fellow Oceana board member Stephen McAllister, who purchased the vessel, refurbished it and gave it to Oceana for the expedition.
"In its previous life, Ranger's mission was to bring health care to the people of Micronesia; as Oceana's ship, its mission is to bring health to the animals and ecosystems of our threatened oceans," McAllister said.
McAllister was referring to The Ranger's origins, as a custom-built hospital ship for Seventh-Day Adventist missions in Micronesia.
The expedition will be led by marine biologist Xavier Pastor, vice president of Oceana's Europe office. Aboard will be videographers, divers and invited journalists.
CONTACT: Contact the following Oceana staff for more information:
Additional materials available for download:
Fact sheet about Ranger (PDF)
Expedition schedule (PDF)
Map of Ranger's route (PDF)
Ranger FAQ (PDF)
Presentation about the voyage (PowerPoint)