24.01.2010 22:24

Greenpeace byggir nýjan Rainbow

                                        Tölvuteikning af Rainbow Warrior 3

INTERNATIONAL: German and Polish shipyards will shortly start work on Greenpeace's GBP 14 mln new flagship "Rainbow Warrior III", which will be one of the greenest sailing mega-yachts afloat, complete with satellite video system and a helipad.

The third "Rainbow Warrior" will be delivered next year, and will be one of the biggest yachts to have been commissioned in the last decade with, say the designers, a massive 1,300 sq metres of sail supported on two A-frame masts.

Like billionaire Roman Abramovich's GBP 300 mln motor mega-yacht, the "Eclipse", also expected to be launched this year in Germany, the "Rainbow Warrior III" will have its own helipad and room for a flotilla of inflatables. But while it will sleep 30 in more comfort than the fishing boats the environment group usually converts, it will not have Abramovich's swimming pools, military-grade missile defence system, submarine or armour-plating.

Instead it will be one of the greenest ships afloat and a satellite system will allow campaigners to stream video footage from anywhere in the world. "We have converted ships for 30 years and it's time we practised what we preach", said Ulrich von Eitzen, a Greenpeace spokesman. "Upgrading the existing ship was not technically or financially feasible and converting a secondhand ship would compromise our campaigning and energy conservation needs".

The new ship will have both diesel and electric engines but these are expected to be in use for less than 10% of its time at sea. "The aim is to drastically reduce emissions and to burn far less fuel. You can never say in advance what speeds it will do, but its main propulsion will be by wind", said Eitzen.

Analysis showed that it was ecologically efficient to build from new rather than convert another ship, but that there was little difference between an aluminium or steel hull. By far the greatest impact on the environment was found to be during the ship's use rather than in the construction or eventual demolition phases.

The decision to choose sail rather than rely on fossil fuels is also a deliberate challenge to the shipping industry to reduce its carbon and other polluting emissions. Ships' diesel engines rely on "bunker" oil, one of the dirtiest fuels in the world, but owners are coming under increased pressure to reduce emissions and marine designers are investigating a return to sail. Critics have argued that Greenpeace has been reluctant to address shipping emissions for fear of drawing attention to its own fossil-fuel-powered fleet.

The cost should not be a problem for the group, which, with nearly three million supporters, is extremely wealthy. The new "Rainbow Warrior" will bring the Greenpeace fleet to six ocean-going ships, as big as the navies of many island states such as Madagascar, the Seychelles, the Maldives and Mauritius. Greenpeace boats have been used from the Arctic to the Amazon to confront whalers, loggers, illegal fishers, GM food importers and nuclear testing. They are crewed by a mix of professional sailors and volunteers.

In 1986 the French government ordered its secret service to sink the first Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour, New Zealand.


Today the "Maltese Falcon" is the largest sailing yacht in the world when measured Length On Deck, while "Eos" is the largest private sailing yacht in the world when measured Length Over All 305feet (93 meters) including the yacht's bowsprit. Both boats have three masts, are wind-propelled.


Greenpeace International Executive Director Gerd Leipold, signed a contract with the Fassmer Shipyard for construction of the Rainbow Warrior III in September 2009. The sailing ship, which is to be completed in time for Greenpeace's 40th anniversary in 2011, will include the very latest in green technology making it ideal for use in Greenpeace's campaign to avert catastrophic climate change.

This is the first time in the environmental organisation's history that it has chosen to commission a purpose-built ship instead of refurbishing an older one. The organisation maintains that even in these difficult financial times, environmental protection must remain the international community's single greatest priority. 'Greenpeace is demanding that politicians and individuals alike to make policy and investment decisions based upon environmental imperatives. Just as this is the right thing for them to do, so it is the right thing for Greenpeace, too. Now it is not the time to short change future generations," Leipold explained.

The Rainbow Warrior III will be built primarily to sail (thus using wind energy instead of fossil fuels), with the option in unsuitable weather conditions to switch over to enginepowered, diesel-electric propulsion. The A-frame design of the mast and the positioning of the sails have been optimised for efficiency and the shape of the hull has been designed for maximum fuel conservation. Heat created by the generators will be re-used to heat water on board and for engine pre-heating.

'The Rainbow Warrior II has been a great ship, with a proud record of effecting environmental change, but even great warriors need to be retired' Leipold said at the contract signing ceremony. 'The Rainbow Warrior is synonymous with Greenpeace, with taking a stand to defend the planet, and is an icon of hope world wide. Not only does it provide Greenpeace with a platform to challenge environmental abuse across the world, it provides people with inspiration to take action of their own. More than ever the world needs the hope and inspiration provided by the Rainbow Warrior."

Technical specifications vessel "Rainbow Warrior III"

Main dimensions
Length over all 57,92 m
Beam (Max.) 11,30 m
Design Draft 5,00 m
Air draught 50,50 m
Tonnage Approx 838 GT

Source: John Vidal/The Observer
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