The Rainbow Warrior being boarded by the Spanish Guardia Civil at port entrance of Rota Naval Base.
The Esperanza may be the Greenpeace ship of hope, but the
Rainbow Warrior is the ship of dreams. With a rainbow on the side
and a dolphin on the bow, magic seems to follow it. Dolphins appear
when you need encouragement, rainbows appear when your dreams are
I've heard great stories about the Rainbow Warrior being bombed
by the French and helping evacuate the people of Rongelap island in
the south Pacific and many stories that came after. So it was with
a bit of shock that I found myself on the bridge of the Rainbow
Warrior as the police were breaking through the door and storming
through the ship.
We had been anchored just outside the military port entrance of
Rota for more than 14 hours. Inside the harbour was a large US
military cargo vessel carrying war supplies for the Gulf
At about 18:00 when the captain called all of the remaining crew
to the bridge for a crew meeting to tell us that the police wanted
us to leave and ask our opinions, it was with those dreams in our
hearts that we all said we wanted to stay.
By midnight the police were tired of waiting and ready to move.
Two tug boats arrived with a small police boat to cut our anchor
chain. They started to tow us back the commercial port in Cadiz
where we had been docked just days before.
As we were coming into Cadiz harbour, I heard the captain say
"they are going to break in, everybody down below". Almost everyone
headed down the bridge stairs except for the captain and a few of
us that stayed behind to film and take photos. I was on the port
side, there was a loud noise on the window of the starboard side
bridge door as the police took a sledge hammer to it, then another
bang on the window of the door right behind me. Then the glass of
the starboard side shattered and after a couple more knocks the
police created a large hole in the window. I saw the face of the
police chief appear and his arm came through the window to unlock
the door. I headed for the stairs and as I was at the top the
police came through the door, maybe ten of them.
I was knocked tumbling down the stairs and the remaining crew on
the bridge spilled through the door into the alleyway below. The
police were right behind us.
The police chief was shouting to Daniel the captain who was
right behind me up against the end of the alleyway. Many other crew
were in front of me and as the police pushed their way through them
to get to the captain I heard shouting and a few hard whacks. One
of the crew was elbowed in the nose and put in a headlock, another
punched in the stomach and put in a headlock. The police chief was
by then right in my face shouting at Daniel behind me, the camera
was shaking in my hand.
Daniel pushed the fire alarm and after a few tense seconds that
seemed like minutes he went with the police hoping to prevent any
more violence against the crew. All the police retreated back up to
the bridge deck and some of us followed. There was glass all over
the floor and Daniel was outside, the police binding his hands with
rope. The police came back in the bridge and grabbed Phil the Bosun
and Carlos the Spanish campaigner, pulled them out onto the deck,
arrested them and tied their hands as well.
The tugs brought the ship alongside the dock and some of us were
allowed out on deck to help set out the mooring lines. The three
arrested were taken off the ship and loaded into a van.
It was a brutal scene and one I will not quickly forget.
Everyone was a bit shell shocked afterwards and sad to have lost
our captain. But the experience was nothing compared to the
violence that the people of Iraq will experience if the US, UK and
Spain go ahead with this war. It is because of them that we put
ourselves in harm's way. It is because of the thousands of innocent
people who will be killed and injured that we tried to stop the US
military cargo ship Cape Horn from taking supplies for war to the
It is because we dream of peaceful solutions that we ride the
Take action and show your opposition to the war by writing to the members of the UN Security Council and ask them to say no to war.