Rainbow Warrior II bids farewell, will become hospital ship

Feature story - August 16, 2011
After 52 years at sea and 22 years as a Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior II is starting a new life.

 At a ceremony in Singapore, the Rainbow Warrior was transferred to Friendship, a Bangladesh-based NGO that will refit it as a hospital ship.

To prepare it for its new role, the bell was removed, the ship’s mascot dolphin was taken down and the Rainbow Warrior’s name was painted over.

Renamed Rongdhonu, Bengali for Rainbow, she will deliver primary and secondary medical assistance to  communities that have little or no access to basic health care facilities in the coastal belt of Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal. She will also serve as an emergency medical ship around the region to areas that are already experiencing the effects of climate change.

At the hand over ceremony, Mike Fincken, Captain of the Rainbow Warrior II, 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’. This ship has carried people from around the world and has stood as an icon of hope over pessimism and as an emblem of action over complacency, it is time to pass that task on."

The Rainbow Warrior II first sailed for Greenpeace in 1989 and replaced the original Rainbow Warrior, after it was bombed and sunk by French government agents in 1985. Read more about the work the Rainbow Warrior has done over the last two decades.

Construction on the new Rainbow Warrior III is nearly complete. The vessel will join the Greenpeace fleet in October as we celebrate our 40th anniversary!

Donate now and help us build a new, improved Rainbow Warrior.

The new Warrior is purpose-built and better equipped to tackle the great environmental threats of our time - like climate change, overfishing, destructing of forests and toxic chemicals poisoning the Earth, and will enable us to take action, year after year, anywhere in the world.

We will continue to win important victories for the planet -  victories that are needed now more than ever before. But we need your help!

Visit our New Rainbow Warrior website, where you can purchase anything from a bolt to an anchor winch to a desalination unit for the new Rainbow Warrior, and we'll put your name on a digital artwork that will sail with her.