Rainbow Warrior Boarded (fwd)

Jon Beasley-Murray jpb8 at acpub.duke.edu
Mon Jul 10 17:38:46 MDT 1995


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 1995 17:25:29 -0400 (EDT)
From: Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>
Subject: Re: Rainbow Warrior Boarded?! Any News out there? (fwd)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 1995 13:43:55 -0400
From: fran sendbuehler <sendbuef at ere.umontreal.ca>
To: cybermind at jefferson.village.virginia.edu
Subject: Re: Rainbow Warrior Boarded?! Any News out there?

Speaking of "Rainbow Warrior Boarded?! Any News out there?", Christina Siun
O'Connell (on Future Culture) hath scrawled:

|> apparently Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior was rammed and boarded this
|> afternoon (19:45 GMT) by the French ... boarding troops used tear gas and
|> are said to have taken everyone onboard (tho unclear where) New Zealand
|> gov't is protesting the action (in NZ waters?)


from the web page --

AT MORUROA LAGOON FRENCH AUTHORITIES TOW RAINBOW WARRIOR AND CREW INTO
INTERNATIONAL WATERS AFTER VESSEL BOARDED AND RAMMED

Off Moruroa atoll, 1230 a.m. local time July 10 (1030pm GMT) -- The Rainbow
Warrior is now being towed under duress from the Moruroa nuclear test site
into international waters by the French navy after being boarded by French
commandos 18 hours ago.

A Greenpeace inflatable launched from a second Greenpeace vessel, the Vega,
with three people aboard is still in the vicinity of the test site.
Greenpeace's Stephanie Mills, on board the Rainbow Warrior, said France
should stop preparations for tests while the activists remained undetected
in the area.

The activists aboard the inflatable are David McTaggart, (Greenpeace's
honorary chairman and a veteran of protests at the site), Henk Haazen
(Dutch) and Chris Robinson (Australian). The Greenpeace vessel Vega and a
Danish vessel Bifrost are also near the test site, in international waters.


So far unreported by French authorities, Greenpeace activists yesterday
occupied the nuclear test drilling rig inside the Moruroa lagoon in protest
at France's decision to resume testing there in September in an
unprecedented breach of military security at the test site,.

The Rainbow Warrior was boarded just off the pass into the lagoon by French
commandos who broke into the bridge and used tear gas to force crew from
the ship at 0630 a.m. local time. Commandos split open the radio room door
with an axe and used tear gas to drive two crew (Thom Looney, radio officer
and Stephanie Mills, campaigner) to climb out of the porthole and onto the
bridge above. The Rainbow Warrior was rammed by a large tug, causing damage
to its bow, before being towed to a mooring point inside the lagoon.

Greenpeace France's Jean-Luc Thierry said the French military had taken the
easy resort to violence so stop Greenpeace's peaceful protest. "But no
amount of force can weaken Greenpeace's determination to stop nuclear
testing at Moruroa and worldwide," he said. "President Chirac cannot ignore
the strength of international opinion against a resumption of testing at
the atoll."

Three out of four Greenpeace inflatables -- launched outside the 12 mile
exclusion zone around the atoll at 2 a.m. and 3.30 a.m. yesterday local
time -- suceeded in entering the lagoon and reaching the drilling rig, in
spite of French navy claims last week that the French authorities had
sufficient resources to repel Greenpeace. Two activists, Richard Leney
(British) and Madaleine Habib (Australia), scaled the drilling rig and
occupied it for more than 20 minutes. The Greenpeace inflatable crews were
then boarded by commandos after a two hour chase through the exclusion zone
and lagoon.

The 23 crew from both the inflatables and the Rainbow Warrior were then
transferred to Moruroa and held and interrogated by French military police
for more than 15 hours. Crew identified themselves merely as Fernando
Pereira, the Greenpeace photographer who was killed by French secret
service agents when they bombed the first Rainbow Warrior in Auckland
harbour on July 10 1985.

"The best commemoration of Fernando's death we could offer was our action
today," Greenpeace's Stephanie Mills said. "An end to nuclear testing now
and forever is what Fernando would have wanted us to be fighting for."

The French authorities have demanded that the Rainbow Warrior be towed into
international waters without three out of four of its inflatables and their
safety and navigational equipment. The Greenpeace crew refused to return to
their vessel without this equipment, and staged a sit-in at the Moruroa
dock. Around 100 French Foreign Legionnaires surrounded the crew and
eventually bodily lifted people into a transport vessel which ferried them
to the Rainbow Warrior.

The Rainbow Warrior is now under tow, under duress, by the French Navy, and
will be taken into international waters outside the atoll's 12 mile
exclusion zone. The French Navy have said they will escort the vessel once
it is in international waters for an unspecified time afterwards.

The Rainbow Warrior's skipper, David Enever (UK), said the Rainbow Warrior
would remain in the vicinity of the test site while further protest
activity was discussed. Stephanie Mills said Greenpeace would be
uncompromising in its oposition to all nuclear testing worldwide and would
scale up its protests internationally at France's plans to resume testing
in September.

ENDS

Further information: Stephanie Mills, Jean-Luc Thierry, on board SV Rainbow
Warrior +872 1300312

Blair Palese, Cindy Baxter, Greenpeace Communications, London +44 171 8330600





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