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New Zealand's Rainbow Warrior?


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The 'Rainbow Warrior' is the Greenpeace flagship. It was named after a North American Indian legend, and launched in 1978. The ship arrived in New Zealand in July 1985 in preparation for leading a flotilla of boats to Mururoa Atoll in the Pacific Ocean to protest against French nuclear tests on the atoll.

Just before midnight on 10 July 1985, while the Rainbow Warrior waited in Auckland Harbour, underwater charges which had been placed by frogmen on the hull of the ship exploded, sinking the vessel. One person was killed in the explosion, Portuguese photographer Fernando Periero. In a major cover-up operation, the French Government denied its involvement. On 22 September 1985, Prime Minister of France Laurent Fabius admitted that the bombing had been carried out by 2 secret agents belonging to the French foreign intelligence agency, DGSC, or Directorate-General for External Security. This was despite a major cover-up operation in which the French Government denied its involvement.

Within months, the French defence minister Charles Hernu had resigned and New Zealand was paid $7m in compensation by the French Government. A new 'Rainbow Warrior' was launched in 1987. (source: - 22 September)