Greenpeace marks 20th anniversary of the bombing of the first Rainbow Warrior

Feature Story - 2005-07-10
To mark the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the first Rainbow Warrior, working to protect the environment and work for peace worldwide, we hold a series of activities worldwide, including a week-long photo exhibition of “20 years of Rainbow Warrior” in both Beijing and Guangzhou.

Rainbow Warrior in full sail off Honolulu, Hawaii.

We display about 20 historical pictures of the ship, featuring both Rainbow Warrior I and II, and the other two Greenpeace ships, Arctic Sunrise and Esperanza.

The famous ship, which carried out the mission to stop the French nuclear test, was sunk by an act of sabotage in Auckland, New Zealand (Aotearoa), on the night of July 10th 1985. Greenpeace photographer, Fernando Pereira, drowned when two explosions ripped through the Rainbow Warrior's hull. With the philosophy that 'you can't sink a rainbow' Greenpeace sought a new Rainbow Warrior in 1989 to take up the global mission.

Later this year Rainbow Warrior will be working in the Asia region to raise awareness of the issue of climate change and to promote clean renewable energy such as wind power. Greenpeace China climate campaigner Li Mo Xuan traveled to New Zealand (Aotearoa) to attend the ceremony and events in New Zealand which mark the anniversary and to help prepare for the work in the coming months.

The name "Rainbow Warrior" comes from a Native American prophecy: "There will come a time, when the earth is sick and the animals and plants begin to die. Then the Indians will regain their spirit and gather people of all nations, colours and beliefs to join together in the fight to save the Earth: The Rainbow Warriors." It has become a symbol of peace and environmental protection the world over.

This anniversary marks two decades of ceaseless work in every part of the world, and on every ocean, to bear witness to environmental harm and take action to protect nature. In the past twenty years the ship has worked to protect forests from Indonesia to Brazil, to defend oceans worldwide from over fishing and pollution, to document environmental damage - such as the impacts of climate change from Greenland to Antarctica - and to promote environmentally friendly solutions like wind power.