June 5th to 15th, 2003

Clogged toilets and lawyers who never stop talking. legal trouble and engine trouble just before leaving

 

Meanwhile, the Langenort is having some difficulties. The Langenort's engine was thought to be damaged, and there are problems with the insurance, there are no life rafts, and the instruments onboard are not working.

At the same time it becomes clear that the Polish legal situation is far from clear. Article 152.2 of the Polish penal code states:
"The same punishment (3 years imprisonment) shall be imposed on anyone who renders assistance to a pregnant women in terminating her pregnancy in violation of the law or persuades her to do so."
The Polish penal code will not apply to us while we are not in Polish waters, so abortions given while 12 miles away from the coast will not be in violation with any law.
However, some Polish legal experts recommend however that we provide information on land in such a manner that it will not be possible to interpret this act as facilitating the termination of a pregnancy. Women on Waves is very surprised by this advice because the European Court of Human Rights has specifically established the right to give information about abortion services abroad (and for women to receive that information). Since Poland has signed the European Convention of Human Rights and they have to comply with that ruling.

June 5, 2003
The ship's owners call. During today's last minute dry-docking procedure, the hull is not properly supported resulting in the probability that the engine has been damaged.

June 6, 2003
Margreet and Rebecca drive to Harlingen to inspect the dry-docked Langenort. After exerting some pressure, the shipyard is willing to launch the Langenort on Monday, a holiday. The ship has to be in the water for at least 24 hours before experts can investigate if any damage has been done to the engine. While speaking to the ship's owner it also turns out that the ship still does not have the proper insurance. We ask our own insurance company to make sure we get insured in time so that we can set sail according to our schedule. The Dutch spokespersons for the campaign (except for Margreet and Rebecca) receive media training by de Beuk.

June 10, 2003
The experts determine that the engine has not been damaged and Women on Waves will be able to sail as scheduled. What a relief!

June 11, 2003
We take the Langenort out on a test voyage. None of the equipment on board works properly. The compass has not been levelled, there are no radios on board and the radar does not function. The ship's owners have only 5 days to make sure that everything works.

June 12, 2003
Some unexpected legal issues begin to arise. Apparently the legal situation in Poland is far from clear. Article 152.2 of the Polish penal code states: "The same punishment (3 years imprisonment -rg) shall be imposed on anyone who renders assistance to a pregnant women in terminating her pregnancy in violation of the law or persuades her to do so�. According to Women on Waves and our legal council no crime will be committed and the abortion will not be in violation of any law because the abortion will in fact take place on Dutch territory where Polish penal code does not apply. Some Polish legal experts recommend however that we provide information in such a manner that it will not be possible to interpret this act as facilitating the termination of a pregnancy. We are very surprised by this advice because the European Court of Human Rights has specifically established the right to give information about abortion services abroad (and for women to receive that information). Poland has signed the European Convention of Human Rights and has to comply with that ruling. Under these conditions giving information about our abortion services can not be illegal.

June 13, 2003
We bring the gangway that we borrowed from the Greenpeace ship Sirius (thanks to Jan) to our ship. The Langenort has been moved to another spot. The ship's owners tell us that the shipyard where the Langenort is berthed is bankrupt. Just before the ship was moved they had placed the treatment room on the ship. Now there is no proper entrance and it will be very difficult to bring the stock on board. Two crewmembers, Sjoukje and Monica, go on board to help ready the ship on time. The on board lights do not work, the cradles for the life rafts have not been installed and there is still so much unfinished.

June 14, 2003
Still nothing works properly. When we turn on the electricity in the treatment room all of the fuses blow. The toilet is clogged. The lights on the ship don't work. There are still no radios. There are not as many life jackets as the ship's owners have promised.

June 15, 2003
In the afternoon the crew boards the Langenort and receives its final media training, and continues preparing the ship for departure. We issue the latest updates and all have dinner together.