Smashing a bottle of champagne across a freshly painted bow in Marina del Rey recently, actor/activist Ted Danson christened Oceana’s new ship, Ranger, signaling the international marine conservation group’s first transoceanic expedition. “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.” Oceana’s Ranger, one of the biggest catamarans in the world, will cover 11,000 nautical miles on its five-month voyage to document marine wildlife and habitat and the threats posed to them by pollution and destructive industrial fishing practices. The Ranger and its crew will travel to some of the most beautiful and threatened ocean hotspots in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and Europe. It is expected to arrive in the Mediterranean in June. At the christening, 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. The Ranger was previously a custom-built hospital ship used by 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.
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