Greenpeace's legendary flagship, the Rainbow Warrior, sailed into South Korea's Incheon Harbor for the first time today to start its Nuclear Emergency Tour, aiming to raise awareness on the level of emergency preparations South Korea's nuclear plant operators have in place.
The Rainbow Warrior will be in Korea from July 5 to 18. A commemoration of the bombing of the original Rainbow Warrior (for protesting against French nuclear tests in the Pacific) will be held on July 10.
Since opening an office in Seoul in 2011, Greenpeace has warned that Korea's ageing nuclear reactors and lax safety standards pose a serious threat to the population. A myriad of scandals and malfunctions continue to plague these nuclear energy facilities. Millions of Korean's live within the vicinity of nuclear power plants; in Busan alone 3.4 million people are within the 30 kilometer radius of the notorious Gori nuclear plant.
"The Nuclear Emergency Tour aims to inform people about the threats they face from nuclear energy and that they have a right to demand for proper emergency plans from nuclear plant operators and the government in case a nuclear disaster occurs," said Mario Damato, Executive Director of Greenpeace East Asia.
"These, however, are simply intermediate measures. In reality one more day living under the shadow of nuclear plant is another day closer to disaster. South Korea should already start phasing out these dangerous nuclear plants starting with the cancellation of construction of new nuclear reactors and the shutdown of the oldest and most problematic ones," he added.
To participate in the campaign, the Korean public can sign an ongoing petition on Nuclear emergency plans at www.greenpeace.org/korea. Other details of the ship and the campaign can also be found on the website.
While in Incheon, the Rainbow Warrior will be open for public visits on July 6 at 10am to 4pm and on July 7 at 10am to 12noon. The crew and volunteers will guide and show facilities of the ship to visitors on these dates. The ship then sails to Busan and will also be open for public visits on July 12 and 13 from 10 am to 4pm.
The Rainbow Warrior plays a key role in Greenpeace campaigns, allowing the environmental group to bear witness and take action to prevent environmental crimes around the world. The new Rainbow Warrior was especially built for campaigning. It's a fast and reliable vessel, designed so that scientists can work on board, and an example for green ship building.
The name Rainbow Warrior was inspired by a North American Indian legend. In this legend an old Cree Indian woman named 'Eyes of Fire' said: "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 to heal it....they will be known as Warriors of the Rainbow."
The original Rainbow Warrior was a rusty 418-ton trawler called the Sir William Hardy. On July 10, 1985, while preparing to visit Moruroa Atoll to campaign against French nuclear testing in the Pacific, a French secret service agent planted two bombs on the Rainbow Warrior, while it was moored in New Zealand. The ship sank and Greenpeace photographer, Fernando Pereira, drowned.
Kim Hye-kyeong, Communications Officer, +82 10-7712-3144