A handful of us left Greenpeace International's office in Amsterdam on Monday morning, on a special trip to Bremen to see our new, much awaited Rainbow Warrior III enter the water for the first time. After being under planning and construction for the best part of last two years, the ship now needs to undergo the final fittings of the masts and other equipment - work that will continue over the coming summer months.
As I walked into the ship construction hall, and saw the new Rainbow Warrior standing outside, beyond the partly opened door on a high platform, I felt a shiver of emotion and felt immensely proud and impressed by her, and Greenpeace as an organisation. She looked shiny and new (of course) in her familiar green paint, the dove and the rainbow all carefully already painted on her hull. This is the first time that Greenpeace has purpose built a ship which is environmental in design, set for sailing and perfect for the purpose of spreading the message of sustainability and peace to the world. She carries the hope for us all, may she sail in peace and be very successful in her work.
I have been privileged to have sailed on both of the previous Rainbow Warriors, for which I am very grateful. Being here together with Captain Joel Stewart, who will be the first captain to sail the ship in service, as well as Captain Derek Nicolls and many other crew members who new friends to wish our new ship well is a very special moment indeed.
The launch ceremony went well and as the high tide came in, the Rainbow Warrior was afloat with dock workers already busying around with the next stages of the building work. It will be just a few short months for the ship to be ready, when it will receive a much more ceremoniously launched in Hamburg. The new Rainbow Warrior will be a much needed addition to the Greenpeace fleet, which is tasked with defending the planet. I leave the dock once again remember that you cannot sink a rainbow…
Rien is Greenpeace crew member who first sailed on a Greenpeace ship in 1973 (the Flora) to stop the last ever atmospheric nuclear test in Muroroa in the Pacific Ocean. He then went on to sail on the first Rainbow Warrior in the late 70s, and has sailed on all Greenpeace ships (except the Solo) as a cook and actions coordinator since then. He now lives in Waiheke, New Zealand.
Construction of the the Rainbow Warrior III is well underway but we've got a way to go yet. You can feature in the next chapter in the story of a ship became a legend at www.rainbow-warrior.org.nz
Photographs © Greenpeace/Marcus Meyer