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Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior bombed in Auckland

The Story


With one person dead, police in New Zealand launch a major investigation into the explosions that destroyed the Rainbow Warrior, the flagship vessel of Greenpeace. The boat sank today at dockside in Auckland before it was to sail out to Moruroa to protest French nuclear testing. In this CBC Television clip Russ Munro, one of the survivors of the blast, calls for the culprits to be brought to justice: "Murderers can't go unpunished, they have to be exposed." 

Medium: Television
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: July 10, 1985
Guest(s): Patrick Moore, Russ Munro
Host: Keith Morrison
Interviewer: Mary Lou Finlay
Duration: 6:16

Did You know?


• The New Zealand government conducted an investigation into the bombing. They discovered French secret service agents acting on the authority of French Defence Minister Charles Hernu were responsible. Hernu was later forced to resign. Two of the agents involved were found guilty of manslaughter in Auckland's High Court and received a ten-year jail term. In 1986 a United Nations panel of arbitrators awarded Greenpeace a damage claim and the French government was ordered to pay $8.1 million US.

• At the time of the explosion, 12 people were believed to be aboard the Rainbow Warrior. Fernando Pereira, a Greenpeace photographer, was the only person killed in the explosion.

• The Rainbow Warrior was a North Sea Trawler that originally went by the name of 'Sir William Hardy' before being renamed 'Rainbow Warrior' in 1978. Greenpeace co-founder Robert Hunter is credited with coming up with the name while sailing aboard the Phyllis Cormack to Amchitka. During that voyage, Hunter had read a book of Native myths and legends that contained a chapter detailing the exploits of the Cree Indian people who became known as Warriors of the Rainbow.


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