Sunday, January 13, 2013

You Can't Sink A Rainbow

The third incarnation of Greenpeace's campaign ship Rainbow Warrior arrived in New Zealand this week for the first time.
The environmentally-friendly, purpose-built vessel entered Matauri Bay in Northland, and paid its respects above the watery final resting place of its original namesake.
It's now on a 6wk.tour stopping in Akld, Stewart Island, Bluff, Dunedin and Wgtn, and will be open for public viewing.
The visit is significant because of the RW's historical connection with NZ. Executive director Bunny McDiarmid: "The Rainbow Warrior has been the heart and soul of Greenpeace global campaigning for over 30 years. She's been raided, rammed, shot at and bombed but the spirit of the Rainbow Warrior is as strong as ever". The original RW was treacherously sunk in Auckland Harbour in 1985 by French intelligence agents. Its wreck now rests in Matauri Bay and is a popular dive site.
GP says the vessel heralds a new direction for the organisation: "This ship is the embodiment of the direction we need to move in. Her design is innovative, intelligent and stylish." The new RW, built in Poland and Germany, is better equipped than its ancestors to meet its requirements, with a helicopter landing pad, scientific research facilities and satellite comms. It's also designed to be more energy-efficient and sails primarily using wind power, with diesel-electric engines for backup.
One thing that's obvious - this is not a confrontational vessel. GP's direction has morphed into being 'silent witnesses of environmental crimes'. A vessel powered by sail (although staying true to GP's core values) has no possibility of tackling whaling or poaching vessels.
In this age, is 'being silent witness' enough for an environmental watchdog group?
1978 – First RW launched. It was an old trawler formerly used by the UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
1985 – French intelligence agents bomb RW in Auckland Harbour, 10 July. It was preparing to lead an anti-nuke protest flotilla of yachts to Mururoa Atoll in French Polynesia.
1989 – GP launches second RW, a 44.2m schooner. It protests against whaling and the use of coal and palm oil.
2011 – Second RW retires, sold to a NGO in Bangladesh as hospital ship. Third RW enters operation in October.
[...thanx to 3News]

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