By Angela Matheson
Photo by David Brazil
SYDNEY — The Rainbow Warrior concluded its month-long tour of Australia with a week's visit at Darling Harbour, where more than 3000 people were shown over the ship by Greenpeace members.
The Warrior toured Australia in March to promote awareness of health and environmental issues effecting Australasian and Pacific people. It left Sydney on March 17 to continue its environmental campaign in the Pacific.
A campaign against driftnet fishing is high on the Warrior's agenda. According to Greenpeace, over 10,000 kilometres of net are dropped into the Pacific and Tasman Sea each night by Japanese and Taiwanese fishing fleets. "These nets hang in the ocean like enormous curtains and catch absolutely everything", says skipper Joel Stewart. "They are death traps for dolphins and whales. The tragedy is that 80% of the catch is thrown back — usually dead."
The Warrior crew also aims to highlight the dangers of the greenhouse effect for low-lying Pacific islands. Greenpeace claims that Pacific islanders are not informed about environmental issues.
"Many Pacific islands do not have television or regular newspapers", says Vivienne Vanderwal, engineer for the Warrior. "We want to let them know that the island they live on may well be under the ocean within a generation."
The 542 tonne Rainbow Warrior is the most energy-efficient and environmentally sensitive ship in the world. It is fitted with a water purifier, a solar water heater and heat exchanger and a sewage treatment system. The ship replaces the original Rainbow Warrior, which was blown up by French agents in New Zealand in 1985. n