When the Pacific Pintail left the open sea and headed through the Walney channel this morning the ship was met by five members of the Nuclear Free Irish Sea Flotilla who had been lying in wait. The flotilla boats obeyed all maritime safety practices and orders from the harbour authorities, but still managed to sail within 50 yards (45.5m) of the Pacific Pintail carrying the first sea shipment of plutonium since the September 11th attacks.
The Nuclear Free Seas Irish flotilla made up of yachts and vessels from England, Wales and Ireland supported by the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior.
This contingent of the flotilla was made up of four boats
between 10 and 16 metres, and one small sailing dingy. The skippers
and crew came from a variety of backgrounds including a doctor, a
lawyer, a retired Irish Army Commandant and a member of the
European Parliament. These people took time away from their daily
lives to protest the Pintail's lethal cargo.
At the start of the channel the flotilla boats sailed abreast of
the Pintail, which was surrounded by police boats. "We had 'Irish
Sea Nuclear Free' banners along our railings, and were flying 5x5
metre flags reading 'Stop Plutonium Transport'. It was an absolute
success," said one skipper Dr. Warren Scott.
The flotilla did not turn back until the Pintail approached the
first set of locks, and needed manoeuvring room.
marks the final end of an 18,000-mile journey for the Pintail. It,
and its cargo of rejected plutonium MOX fuel, has been hounded at
every turn. Confronted by independent protest flotillas in the
Pacific ocean and Irish sea; by Greenpeace ships as it left Japan,
again rounding the tip of Africa and yesterday as it approached the
home stretch. It has been condemned by 80 countries world wide;
banned from their territorial waters and exclusive economic
It's somehow fitting that in the last mile global opposition was
represented by a handful of individual seafarers, from a variety of
backgrounds, who stood up to the Pintail and would not let her come
to port unopposed.
Listen to John's final thoughts on the