The Rainbow Warrior's first mission is campaigning against whaling in Iceland. Greenpeace positions the Rainbow Warrior between harpoons and whales, preventing whalers from catching any whales. The anti-whaling campaign spreads to Spain. Later in the year, the Rainbow Warrior intercepts a British ship attempting to dump radioactive waste, then prevents the massacre of 6,000 grey seals in the Orkney Islands.
In the 80's
1979 Back in Icelandic waters, the ship continued the protest against whaling. Five harpoons were fired over the heads of the crew. Later in the year, the ship and crew were illegally arrested.
1980 In France, the Rainbow Warrior opposed the delivery of nuclear waste from Japan and was rammed by a French naval ship. The Rainbow Warrior blockaded a ship disposing of tons of chemical waste in the North Sea, and continued its whale campaign in Spain.
1982 Back in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the seal campaign, several crew members were arrested. The EEC announced a ban on importing seal pup skins, which effectively put an end to the industry. In Peru, a whaling campaign resulted in Peru banning whaling.
1983 In the Bering Sea, the crew confronted deep sea salmon drift nets while in Siberia they documented illegal Russian whaling, the crew was arrested then released after international outcry.
1985 While preparing for the campaign against French nuclear testing in the Pacific, the Rainbow Warrior was bombed by French Secret Service agents. Crew member and Greenpeace photographer, Fernando Pereira, was killed.
1989 On 10 July 1989 Greenpeace launched the second Rainbow Warrior, exactly four years after the original ship was bombed. The Rainbow Warrior immediately began a European tour, followed up by open days in New York. It then travelled to New Zealand to prepare for the Tasman drift net campaign.
In the 90's
1990 After the drift net campaign, the Rainbow Warrior visited the US west coast for nuclear and "pulp and paper" campaigns. Later, in Moruroa Atoll, five crew members were deported for attempting to take samples in French territorial waters.
1991 The year began with "pulp and paper", toxics and anti-war actions in Auckland, Sydney and the South Pacific. It also celebrated Greenpeace's 20th anniversary at Amchitka, the site of the first ever Greenpeace protest.
1992 After continuing down the US and Mexican west coast, the Rainbow Warrior campaigned against French nuclear testing at Moruroa.
1993 The Rainbow Warrior left Japan for Fremantle, on the Australian west coast. After a rest period, it began the Cities and Coasts Tour, visiting Australia's southern states and ending in Sydney. It then travelled to Barcelona for a refit.
1994 In the Mediterranean, the Rainbow Warrior highlighted many important environmental issues: the Basel Convention, drift net operations, and the use of PVC and CFCs.
1995 1995 was a big year. When France announced an end to a three-year moratorium on nuclear testing, the Rainbow Warrior races towards Moruroa. As it entered the 12-mile exclusion zone around the site, a French tug rammed the ship, commandoes broke in and the Rainbow Warrior was towed out of the zone by the French navy.
1996 In March, the ship was finally released by French authorities. The Rainbow Warrior returned to New Zealand for repairs and maintenance, campaign work, and open days in Australia and New Zealand. She then visited South America for fisheries and nuclear campaigns.
1997 Continuing its South American tour, the Rainbow Warrior visited Central America for aquaculture and oil campaigns. After an extensive nuclear and climate change campaign in the Pacific, the ship visited Darwin for a Timor Sea tour to monitor coral bleaching; a result of climate change.
1998 When Hurricane Mitch devastated much of Central America, the ship brought food, clothes and medicine from San Francisco to Nicaragua.
1999 The Rainbow Warrior returned to Europe for the first time since departing in 1989, visiting Amsterdam then Hamburg to begin the Norwegian whaling campaign. It also made its way south for the Mediterranean toxic tour.
In 21st Century
2000 The Rainbow Warrior went on the Toxic Free Asia, including a stop in Saipan, in the South Pacific, to clean up a toxic site created by the US government in the 60s. The PCB contaminated many areas of the islands and many villages suffered cancer, leukemia, chromosomal changes and reproductive disorders. It berthed in Sydney to act as a watchdog over the Green Olympic Games.
2001 The Rainbow Warrior took to the seas around Europe during the Greenpeace Save or Delete Tour.
2002 2002 proved a busy year as the Rainbow Warrior visited the WTO 4th ministerial meeting in Doha, Qatar during January.
2003 When the Icelandic government intended to resume commercial whaling, the Rainbow Warrior visited Iceland so Greenpeace could talk with Icelanders about alternatives. The ship then headed for India to visit its toxic ship breaking yards.
2004 The Rainbow Warrior visited the diverse tropical forests of Indonesia and the nearby archipelagos to document what was being lost, supported the people working to protect it, and held accountable those responsible for the destruction.
2005 The Rainbow Warrior launched the Sure Wind - Rainbow Warrior Asia Clean Energy Revolution Tour, promoting the development of renewable energy in Asia.
2011 The new Rainbow Warrior III set sail.