The Rainbow Warrior, the flagship of the Greenpeace environmental protection group, will arrive in Taiwan on Jan. 2 on the first port call of its “Ocean Defenders Tour of East Asia.” The ship is expected to visit various harbors and outlying islands around Taiwan over the course of the month, including Keelung, Suao, Green Island (綠島), Kenting (墾丁), Kaohsiung and the island of Siaoliouchiou (小琉球) before heading off on Jan. 30 for Hong Kong and South Korea.
The visits are designed to continue spreading the Greenpeace message of the need for marine reserves to protect species facing extinction, Greenpeace oceans campaigner Kao Yu-fen (高于棻) said yesterday.
This will be the first time the Rainbow Warrior has visited Taiwan, Kao said. During its visit, Greenpeace will invite government officials, civic groups and the public to visit the ship, and campaigners will conduct research on the ecosystem of Taiwan, especially its coral reefs and green turtle population.
The planned visit will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the founding of Greenpeace, which is an independent international organization dedicated to using non-violent and creative confrontations to expose environmental problems and force solutions, the organization’s Web site said.
Kao told reporters that while Greenpeace has been more focused on Europe and the US over the last few decades, in the coming years it will turn its attention to Africa and Asia because Asia in particular is a region that faces challenging environmental problems.
As an example, Kao cited illegal fishing still being carried out by Taiwanese longline vessels and said Taiwan should stop depleting endangered species such as tuna.
The ship that will visit Taiwan is actually the Rainbow Warrior II. The original vessel was attacked and sunk in 1985 by agents of the French government in an attempt to foil protests against French nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific. The vessel will be retired after its East Asia voyage ends in March.