Homage to the seafarer

Published: Thursday 31 July 1997

Before Jacques-Yves Cousteau churned the depths of the ocean, people saw only its surface. It is only his endeavour that made millions of people aware of the vast treasure trove and home to several lifeforms, that covers three-fourths of the surface of the earth.

Veteran oceanographer Cousteau who revealed the secrets of the seas to the world in his breathtaking prize-winning films and fought to protect the environment, died in Paris on June 26, at the age of 87. French President Jacques Chirac mourned Cousteau as an "enchanter", lauding him as best known for his pioneering films ranging from the Antarctic ice shelf to the blue lagoons of Coral Atolls.

In a condolence message, the environmental group Greenpeace International said, "Jacques-Yves Cousteau helped us to grasp the importance of protecting the ocean -- for the benefit of humans, and for other species. All of us who work to protect and conserve our ocean heritage... are children of Jacques-Yves Cousteau."

Pointing out that his death coincided with the United Nations special session review of the Earth Summit, Greenpeace said that it provided a special opportunity to recall the steps taken over the years on behalf of the oceans, "and the many, many more steps that lie ahead if we are to ensure the continued success of his pioneering efforts". Admirers all over the world paid glowing tributes to the soul of the departed seafarer.

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