Greenpeace launches new $33 million flagship

After nearly half a century of patrolling the world’s oceans and embarking on countless environmentally-conscious activist missions, Rainbow Warrior II, the flagship of international activist group Greenpeace, was finally retired to a quiet life as a hospital ship off the coast of Bangladesh. Its successor, the $33 million schooner Rainbow Warrior III, began its maiden voyage on Friday, Oct. 14 from Bremen, Germany.

According to The Huffington Post, the new flagship is all set to immediately pick up where its predecessor left off, starting with a mission in “the United States to campaign against the burning of coal for electricity.” Once finished, it will sail on “south to the Amazon to draw attention to rainforest destruction.”

This busy itinerary fits right in with the globetrotting, often-dangerous routine of the flagship’s namesakes – the first Rainbow Warrior was scuttled near New Zealand in 1985 by French intelligence agents while on a mission against nuclear testing, and the second Rainbow Warrior, battered from several decades of run-ins with “whalers, seal-hunters and illegal loggers,” finished the last of its duties off the coast of Japan, testing for radiation in the wake of the Fukushima reactor disaster.

Greenpeace officials aim to forge a renewed sense of public identity for the organization to go with the brand-new vessel. According to The Huffington Post, Greenpeace director Kumi Naidoo promoted a stronger emphasis on diplomacy and open dialogue with “business and government leaders,” especially in light of the group’s notoriety for heated confrontations with the “U.S. Coast Guard and French navy” in days past. Still, he stressed the importance of active, however nonviolent, opposition to environmentally-unfriendly targets.

“We also recognize that time is running out for the planet, and Rainbow Warrior and all our activism will, if need be, celebrate the best traditions of civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action,” Naidoo said in an interview aboard the new ship.

“[Rainbow Warrior is] the perfect ship with which to navigate the perfect storm [of environmental disaster],” he continued. “[It] will confront environmental criminals across the world.”

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