Rainbow Warrior III sets sail

  • Mon, 17 Oct 2011

Purpose-built eco-ship is launched

Rainbow Warrior III

Greenpeace's new flagship vessel, Rainbow Warrior III, was launched on Friday, 14 October, at a shipyard near Bremen in Germany.

The 58m (190ft) long, 838-tonne ship has a helipad, rapid-release inflatables and on-board medical facilities. and bristles with communications technology capable of broadcasting its campaigning activities around the globe, yet it is largely powered by the oldest method of all – wind: two giant A-frame masts (with crow's nest 50m up) offer five massive sails with which the vessel can reach up to 15 knots.

Back-up electric diesel engines are linked to an exhaust purification system with a heat-capture system to heat both water and the 32-strong crew; the vessel is designed to operate anywhere except the coldest polar regions.

The $33 million pound purpose-built schooner, paid for by 100,000 individual donations, replaces a 50-year-old converted fishing trawler which is being 'recycled' as a hospital ship in India. The first vessel in the series, the original Rainbow Warrior, was sunk in 1985 by French agents at Auckland, New Zealand, during an attempt to stop nuclear testing in the Pacific.

Rainbow Warrior III will be based at Amsterdam and will tour Europe before crossing the Atlantic to begin activist work.

Image: 3D artist impression, Greenpeace

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