Rainbow Warrior in town on reef mission
The famed protest ship, Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior, has docked in Melbourne as the green group ramps up a campaign against coal development on the Great Barrier Reef.
It is the first time the third incarnation of the Rainbow Warrior has visited Australia after being christened in 2011.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific chief executive David Ritter said the Warrior was in Australia to bring attention to the large number of planned resource projects along the Great Barrier Reef coast, including massive new coal ports.
Crew members onboard the Rainbow Warrior, which will stay in Melbourne until late Sunday night. Photo: Joe Armao
The planned development has raised the alarm of the United Nation's heritage body, which is investigating the threat to the world heritage listed reef.
In response the Gillard government has ordered a strategic assessment of the reef under national environment law to determine where development should and should not occur.
Speaking on Princess Pier, where the Rainbow Warrior is docked, Mr Ritter, said the Rainbow Warrior "is here to challenge the coal industry".
Art and life onboard the visiting Rainbow Warrior. Photo: Joe Armao
"The industry is out of control and the Rainbow Warrior is here to bring attention to the fact that we are not doing enough to rein in the coal industry, to rein in carbon emissions, and to stop the damage that will otherwise inevitably be done to our Great Barrier Reef," he said.
Mr Ritter said Environment Minister Tony Burke and the government had not done enough to stop the threat to the reef from coal development.
The Warrior sailed into Port Phillip Bay at dawn on Wednesday morning from New Zealand, where it had been protesting deep-sea drilling. It will stay in Melbourne until late Sunday night and will be open to the public for tours on the weekend. It will then stop in Sydney before heading north to Queensland.
In 1985 the original Rainbow Warrior was famously bombed by the French secret service in New Zealand during nuclear testing protests.
The second Warrior visited Australia on several occasions before being retired in 2011 and was involved in a blockade of coal terminals in Newcastle.
On its six-week trip to Australia the third Rainbow Warrior will be led by Captain Peter Wilcox who was aboard the first Rainbow Warrior in 1985.
Greenpeace Australia is recovering from a rocky few years. In late 2011 Greenpeace International had to loan its Australian arm $2 million after it ran up large losses.