Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT tony. raggatt@ news. com. au

THE cap­tain of Green­peace flag­ship the Rain­bow War­rior bombed by French se­cret agents 30 years ago, Pete Will­cox, says he will con­tinue cam­paign­ing on en­vi­ron­men­tal causes.

Mr Will­cox was at the helm of the new Rain­bow War­rior, the third ver­sion of the ves­sel, when it moored off Townsville this week as part of its cam­paign against the coal in­dus­try.

“I do feel pas­sion­ately about it,” Mr Will­cox said. “That’s why af­ter 40- odd years I’m still here work­ing on it.”

While cam­paign­ing against French nu­clear tests in the Pa­cific, the orig­i­nal Rain­bow War­rior was sab­o­taged and sunk in Auck­land har­bour on July 10, 1985, when agents at-

It was a stun­ning over­re­ac­tion by the


tached ex­plo­sive de­vices to its hull, killing Green­peace pho­tog­ra­pher Fer­nando Pereira.

Mr Will­cox was in charge at the time.

“It was a stun­ning over­re­ac­tion by the French,” Mr Will­cox said.

“It was quite hard on us.”

Mr Will­cox said as far as he was con­cerned there could be no com­pro­mise on the burn­ing of coal and other fos­sil fu­els and he ex­pected a dif­fi­cult time over the years to come as they clashed in­creas­ingly with coal and oil com­pa­nies.

“Fos­sil fuel com­pa­nies are start­ing to fight back,” he said.

“It’s go­ing to be a dif­fi­cult time for us over the next five to 10 years.”

He joined the Rain­bow War­rior in Townsville but was un­sure why they had not taken the ves­sel into port, choos­ing in­stead to an­chor off­shore.

But he said they would be in the re­gion regularly talk­ing about the threat that cli­mate change and the burn­ing of fos­sil fu­els posed to the Great Bar­rier Reef.

“The more coal you burn, the more CO2 you put into the at­mos­phere, the more acidic the ocean be­comes,” Mr Will­cox said.

“It’s quite likely in 20 years the ocean will be­come too acidic to pro­vide for growth of cal­cium- based skele­tons in corals and plank­ton.”

Mr Will­cox said he was not ready to give up the fight.

on its side af­ter the 1985 bomb­ing in Auck­land and ( right) the hole left in the hull.


Rain­bow War­rior

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