Rainbow Warrior

Background - 9 October, 2007
The Rainbow Warrior is sailing through the Paradise Forests, the fastest logged forest area on Earth, on a “Forest Crime Patrol” to stop destructive and illegal logging and offer community based solutions to industrial logging.

"Mud men" perform traditional dances to welcome the arrival of the Greenpeace flagship the Rainbow Warrior.

The tour kicked off in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG), where the campaign slogan "Lukautim Bus" (Pidgin for "Protect our forest") was unveiled. The ship also helped launch Greenpeace's Global Forest Rescue Station deep in PNG's Lake Murray area.

The ship is sailing along the northern coast of New Guinea island, of which PNG and Indonesian Papua make up roughly equal halves. The forests of New Guinea island are some of the most bio-diverse and untouched on the planet and are also the last truly large tracts of ancient forest found anywhere in the Asia Pacific region. Many of the animals on the island are found no where else on the planet.

After PNG, the ship sailed to Indonesia where an area of forest equivalent to six football fields is destroyed every minute. Seventy two per cent of Indonesia's large intact forest landscapes have already been cut down and up to 80 per cent of the logging operations are illegal.

The first port of call in Indonesia was Jayapura, Papua, just across the border from PNG. Greenpeace hosted an Eco-Forestry Forum there which was attended by the head of the provincial forestry office. The Rainbow Warrior then sailed further west to Manokwari and hosted another forum at The State University of Papua. The aim of these meetings was to build a network of communities working together on eco-forestry enterprises

This was the first time any Greenpeace ship has visited Papua, which has the largest tracts of intact forest landscapes in Indonesia. Papua is being targeted by both large scale logging operations and South East Asian timber mafias. Its forests are rich in Merbau trees, which produce a deep red tropical hardwood used in flooring and veneer. The global demand for this timber is fuelling large scale forest destruction and illegal logging in Papua.

While sailing between Jayapura and Manokwari, forest campaigners on board the Rainbow Warrior saw piles of Merbau stacked up along the shoreline, awaiting transportation to mills in the area. The source of these huge logs is unknown, as many of them are transported from other parts of Papua for processing.