THE FIGHT OF HIS LIFE
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
French PETE WILLCOX
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.
FATAL ATTACK: The