Rainbow Warrior takes on Woodside

Everyone knows her name, even if it takes a few moments and a quick Google search to remind yourself of the finer details.

The first Rainbow Warrior became famous for all the reasons that made the French government infamous at the time. Their secret service blew her up in Auckland Harbour, killing one crew member in the process. Incredible, as the French might say, and very many did.

Greenpeace was fighting for the planet back then and continues to do so now. Then, it was French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll in the Pacific. Today, it’s climate change.

Since the first Rainbow Warrior, two other Greenpeace vessels have carried the name, and the third and present one berthed in Fremantle today.

Here’s a great gallery of her arrival from the heads, marked by the red North Mole lighthouse, right into the Inner Harbour where she pulled alongside C Shed at Victoria Quay.

Rainbow Warrior has found her way to Freo from Albany, where she ported after a journey from Asia. She’s here until Monday when she departs for the North West Shelf to protest the fossil fuel giant Woodside’s Scarborough Project under the catchy banner, Whales Not Woodside.

Her arrival heralds Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s launch of its new climate and oceans campaign, as well as to celebrate 45-years since the end of whaling in the region.

In Albany, Rainbow Warrior was able to honour the city’s transformation from a whaling station to a whale-watching hotspot 45-years later.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter said the return of the Rainbow Warrior to West Australian waters comes at a significant time for climate and ocean protection.

David Ritter. Supplied by Greenpeace Australia Pacific

Western Australia is the birthplace of Greenpeace in the Australia Pacific region – we’re proud of our roots in this state. There is terrific symbolism in launching our newest campaign from Albany, as a celebration of the community campaign to close the country’s last whaling station in 1977,” he said.

“The Rainbow Warrior’s journey this year is all about building on those historic actions with our friends, allies and local communities, continuing to celebrate WA’s magnificent coast, and exposing and documenting today’s huge threat to WA’s whales and oceans: Woodside’s Burrup Hub, which is the biggest and dirtiest gas project in Australia.

David Ritter, who is from the West, added:

“It is an opportunity to showcase Western Australia for its incredible beauty and strong community, and the enormous potential for my home state to lead the country’s energy transition. Western Australia is one of the sunniest, windiest places in the world and with a highly educated workforce and abundant resources, it has the potential to be a renewable superpower. Woodside’s aggressive gas expansion plans are a huge obstacle to a brighter, clean energy future for the state, and undermine our climate targets.

Over the coming weeks, the Rainbow Warrior will sail up the coast of Western Australia, documenting the vulnerable wildlife and environment that is threatened by Woodside Energy’s climate-wrecking plans to drill for gas for their Burrup Hub mega project.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific point out that Western Australia’s oceans are home to wildlife species found nowhere else on earth. It says Woodside’s Burrup Hub plans threaten the region’s unique biodiversity, noting the company ‘wants to open two huge new offshore gas fields, involving drilling for gas at a coral reef, dumping gas pipelines into endangered turtle habitats and conducting seismic blasting that can deafen whales, putting up to 54 threatened species at risk’.

Captain Hettie Geenen. Supplied by Greenpeace Australia Pacific.

Captain of the Rainbow Warrior, Hettie Geenen, said Woodside’s “risky and reckless plans” will have widespread, international impact on climate progress.

After Western Australia, Rainbow Warrior will make a Pacific Islands tour to highlight the threat climate change poses to Pacific Island nations and to build awareness and take testimonies to support the mommetous, recently announced human rights climate change case soon to go before the ICJ – the International Court of Justice – in The Hague, The Netherlands.

The ICJ case has come about as a result of a Vanuatu led resolution passed with unanimous support from members of the United Nations General Assembly. The ICJ will be asked to issue an advisory opinion on countries’ duties to protect human rights from the climate crisis, after a campaign spearheaded by university students in Vanuatu swept the globe gaining the support of over 120 cosponsoring countries, including Australia, the United Kingdom, France and New Zealand.

The ICJ will hold hearings and request submissions, with a view to issuing an advisory opinion in 2024.

So, why don’t you head on down to a Victoria Quay to spy the Rainbow Warrior in person.

You may even be lucky enough to jag a booking via the Rainbow Warrior Eventbrite booking page to visit the ship over the coming weekend. You’ll need to be quick though, as places will no doubt go fast!

* By Michael Barker, Editor, Fremantle Shipping News

** Save where indicated, photographs by Michael Barker, Fremantle Shipping News


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