Rainbow Warrior travels to Qld coast to help reef

IT IS fitting that a ship named the Rainbow Warrior should travel the Queensland coastline this month to join the fight to protect Australia's most colourful treasures.

The Greenpeace campaign vessel - 58m long with one of the tallest sail mast systems for a ship of its size - is famous for shining a spotlight on the biggest environmental issues worldwide and this time it wants to draw attention to the effect climate change will have on the Great Barrier Reef.

The organisation's Queensland campaigner, Louise Matthiesson, said the crew would meet with local interest groups to strengthen campaigns against coal port developments along the east coast.

"The reef is under threat on two fronts. One is the burning of coal which changes the climate and leads to coral bleaching as the seas warm," she said.

"The other threat is from the impact of land-based activities like pollution from farm runoff, coastal developments and dredging.

"We're already putting an international spotlight on the fact the reef is at risk and if we don't take stronger action on climate change we could lose one of the seven wonders of the world."

Ms Matthiesson said thousands had turned out in Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle to tour the environmentally-designed Rainbow Warrior and she expected many more in Brisbane, Whitsundays, Mackay and Abbot Point stops.

She said the ship would miss Gladstone this time but Greenpeace recognised the issues with the coal port there.

"Greenpeace is horrified by environmental problems that have faced Gladstone but, due to time restrictions, we haven't been able to take the ship there this time," she said.

Ms Matthiesson said raising awareness was important, noting people in Sydney and Melbourne assumed the reef was safeguarded because it was listed as a world heritage area.

"They have no idea world heritage listing alone is not enough to safeguard the reef," she said.

"Ordinary Australians are quite shocked and surprised."



  • BRISBANE: April 3-5
  • TOWNSVILLE: April 12-13
  • BOWEN: April 14
  • AIRLIE BEACH: April 17
  • MACKAY: April 18-19