The grounding of the Ever Given container ship in the Suez Canal dominated headlines the last week of March — an event that lent itself to countless memes and, given the timing, at least one high-profile April Fool’s Day prank.
Under an all-caps “BREAKING” banner on its Twitter feed, the European branch of Greenpeace posted on 1 April: “Greenpeace's flagship Rainbow Warrior III has become stuck in the Corinth Canal”.
The “news” was accompanied by what purported to be a screen shot from a ship-tracking service with coordinates, status ("stuck") and estimated time of arrival given as "????".
The post also featured an image of the environmental group’s flagship vessel wedged in the famously narrow Greek canal that would fail to fool even the most gullible Twitter reader.
As one Greenpeace EU follower wrote: “First things first, I love what you guys do but that is some awful photoshop right there, please try harder next time”.
That elicited a response credited to the group: “Haha yeah it was a rush job, there's only a limited amount of time I can invest in a silly joke”.
Greenpeace used the prank as a lead-in, however, to somber posts decrying the environmental impact of global trade and taking issue with overconsumption of products, including meat — stuck in the traffic bottleneck were ships crowded with live animals heading to market.
Oil companies that have been the target of Rainbow Warrior protests may have been disappointed that the story was a fake.
In a long-running campaign against Shell’s decommissioning plans for the Brent complex, Greenpeace activists in late 2019 used the vessel to board two platforms at the North Sea field, leading to a court order prohibiting the group from coming within 500 metres of the company’s installations.
In August last year, four protesters in Denmark swam from the Rainbow Warrior to Total’s Dan Bravo platform to demand a halt to all further Danish oil and gas exploration and a phase-out of production there.