Thursday, September 1, 2011

The 55-metre three-masted schooner has been renamed the Rongdhonu, which means rainbow in Bangla. Over the past few days, the ship's bell has been removed, its dolphin mascot taken down and its name painted over, but it still has the aura of a ship that has carried the banner of "climate action" for 22 years.

The Rainbow Warrior travelled the globe, as the 88 national flags on board testify. It blocked the Russian whaling fleet in the strait of Gibraltar, protested in Mururoa against French nuclear tests and stopped ships carrying coal and palm oil. The vessel relocated the population of the tiny island of Rongelap in the Marshall Islands after radiation contamination, and helped in the clean-up of oil spills. It provided humanitarian aid in the wake of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and its most recent mission was monitoring radiation levels off the coast of Fukushima in Japan.

"This ship has stood as an icon of hope over pessimism and as an emblem of action over complacency," said Fincken. "It is time to pass that task on."


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