The Rainbow Warrior
15 February 2013
This is a view from the hiking trail on Motukawanui Island in the Cavalli Island group, looking north. The wreck of the Rainbow Warrior is located just to left of this beautiful group of outer islands. Following our hike we joined our friends on s/v Visions of Johanna and s/v Kastaway and anchored in the lee of the islands.
A little bit of history for you today.....
One fine morning in Auckland Harbour in July, 1985, there was an explosion on a ship and it sank, killing a man. The boat was the Greenpeace flagship, "Rainbow Warrior". It was in New Zealand preparing to sail for Moruroa Atoll near Tahiti to protest against French nuclear testing.
Two French foreign intelligence agents were arrested and charged with detonating 2 mines on the boat. The first mine was designed to cause the crew to evacuate and the second to sink her. Unfortunately Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira was drowned below deck following the second explosion.
France eventually paid New Zealand $13 million and apologized in return for the agents being delivered into French custody on a South Pacific atoll. France also paid over $8 million to Greenpeace. French nuclear testing finally ceased for good on Moruroa in 1996.
The wreck of the "Rainbow Warrior" was resunk near the Cavalli Islands on the NE coast of NZ where it can be explored by divers. This past week we were anchored in the Cavalli Islands. We didn't dive the "Rainbow Warrior" but we thoroughly enjoyed the spectacular scenery the area offered.
Thank you to Lonely Planet for the information on this story. It's hard to believe such an atrocity could have occurred in peaceful New Zealand.