Wednesday 13 March, Melbourne: The new state-of-the-art Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior sailed into Port Phillip Bay this morning, marking the start of a six-week tour. The iconic vessel is in Australia to join the campaign to save the Great Barrier Reef from the reckless expansion of the coal industry.
“The Rainbow Warrior could not have come at a more important time,” said Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter. “The speed and scale of coal expansion spells disaster for our climate and for the Great Barrier Reef. Decisions made right now will resonate for generations to come. Whether you can physically visit the ship or not, we invite all Australians to get on board with our campaign.”
Captain Peter Wilcox, who was at the helm of the original Rainbow Warrior bombed in Auckland Harbour in 1985, will lead the tour. “The Rainbow Warrior has been the heart and soul of Greenpeace global campaigning for over 30 years”, said Captain Peter Wilcox. “She’s been raided, rammed, shot at and bombed, but the spirit of the Rainbow Warrior is as strong as ever.”
After French Government agents bombed the first Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour in 1985, her replacement picked up the baton and led global campaigns for over 21 years before going to a Bangladesh charity that now uses the vessel as a hospital ship. The new Rainbow Warrior is Greenpeace’s first purpose-built ship.
“Greenpeace is independent – we receive no money from governments or corporations, so the new Warrior was funded entirely by individual donations – including from thousands of Australians. It’s great to be able to show people what they made possible,” said Ritter.
During its six weeks in Australia, the Rainbow Warrior will bring together a diverse range of people who want a cleaner and safer future. These include Indian renewable energy experts, local communities fighting coal development, farmers, fishermen and tourism operators worried about what coal is doing to the Australian countryside and the Great Barrier Reef.
“This ship has been part of some great victories in the past. But make no mistake, the challenge of climate change and protecting the Great Barrier Reef is one of the biggest ever,” concluded Ritter.
For information on public tours, go to: www.rainbowwarrior.com.au
For more information, contact:
Greenpeace Media Advisor Elsa Evers, 0438 204 041
For images, go to:
www.greenpeacemedia.org Username: photos. Password: green