At a ceremony in Berne-Motzen, Germany, Greenpeace launched the third version of its protest vessel the Rainbow Warrior. Built as a campaigning vessel, the Rainbow Warrior carries state-of-the-art communications equipment, two fast boats and can carry a helicopter. Her unique A-frame masts carry 1260 square meters of sail, helping keep her carbon footprint to a minimum and making her one of the most environmentally friendly vessels of her class.
“The new Rainbow Warrior is the perfect ship with which navigate the perfect storm of ecological, economic and democratic crises lashing our world,” said Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director, at the ceremony.
“With an international crew on board, the Rainbow Warrior will confront environmental criminals across the world, investigate and expose destructive activities, but perhaps most of all will provide a beacon of hope and an inspiration to action wherever she goes.”
From the moment their first campaign to stop a nuclear weapons test in the Aleutian islands set out 40 years ago, Greenpeace has sailed the sea – often in old, rusting, borrowed, or re-purposed ships. The new Rainbow Warrior is its first purpose-built vessel. Greenpeace ships have helped put activists in front of harpoons to save whales, stopped barrels of toxic and radioactive waste from being dumped at sea, blocked shipments of illegal timber and put an end to nuclear testing. Many of the greatest environmental victories have been won with the support of the Rainbow Warrior and other Greenpeace ships.
Melina Laboucan-Massimo, the Godmother of the new Rainbow Warrior, quoted the Cree Indian prophecy from which the ship got its name, “There will come a time when the Earth grows sick and when it does a tribe will gather from all the cultures of the world who believe in deeds and not words. They will work to heal it… they will be known as the ‘Warriors of the Rainbow’.”
The construction of the Rainbow Warrior was paid for by over 100,000 individual donations. Donors were able to sponsor specific parts of the vessel and items of equipment.
The ship will begin life with a thank-you tour of the European coast before making its first ocean crossing to begin active campaigning in the Americas.
For more information, go to www.greenpeace.org.