Introduction

The most famous of the ships owned by Greenpeace, the SV Rainbow Warrior to give her full title is a member of the fleet including:

Two Ships, One Spirit

There have been two ships by the name of Rainbow Warrior. Both used by Greenpeace for the purposes of non-violent protest, the first was sunk by French agents in New Zealand in 1985, the second being commisioned to replace the first.

The name comes from an American Indian prophesy that when the world has been consumed by greed, the Warriors of the Rainbow will rise to save it.

Purpose

The purpose of the ships has been to non-violently protest against environmental matters, and obstruct the smooth running of such activities as seal fur trading, fishing with driftnets, whaling, plutonium shipments and nuclear weapons testing.

They have also been used in touring to raise awareness of various issues such as deforestation and toxic waste dumping; as well as for scientific research on coral reefs in the Timor Sea and Pacific Ocean.

Fast inflatable boats - Avon Seariders - are carried onboard to get the crew into the thick of the action.

Rainbow Warrior I

In service from 1978 to 1985, the first Rainbow Warrior was originally introduced to obstruct whaling by both Iceland and Spain. She soon became indispensible in many other campaigns. The exploits of the crew led to regular rammings, harpoon fire and arrest of the crew, but their spirit was undaunted until 1985.

On July 10th, 1985 two explosive devices attached to the ship were detonated within minutes of each other, seriously breaching the hull. The ship quickly sank, and of the 12 people on board, only 11 made it to safety. The ship's photographer was not harmed in the blast, but drowned whilst trying to recover equipment from his cabin.

Rainbow Warrior II

A sailing vessel launched on July 10th, 1989 - the fourth anniversary of the sinking of her predecessor - SV Rainbow Warrior was created from a fishing vessel. Three masts were added to give the more environmentally friendly combined sailing and motor power. The original Rainbow Warrior's bell is in the mess of her successor.

She has been successfully campaigning where her predecessor left off.

Specifications:

  • Port of registry: Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Date of purchase: 1987
  • Number of berths: 30
  • Type of ship: Motor Assisted Schooner
  • Call sign: PC 8024
  • Built: 1957 by Cochrane & Sons, Selby, UK
  • Gross tons: 555
  • Length: 55.20 m
  • Breadth: 8.54 m
  • Draught: 4.5 m
  • Maximum speed: 12 knots (2 engines, 3000 L/day)
  • Engines: 2 Diesel type Deutz M.W.M. 2 x 6 Cylinder, 2 x 500kW
  • Sailing Speed: 5-7 knots average
  • Sails: 650 m²
  • Max Airdraft 41 m

Sources:
www.greenpeace.org