Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior sails to the whales of Iceland

The Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior is en route to Iceland to campaign against the hunting of minke whales, which the Icelandic government is attempting to justify on “scientific” grounds.

Gerd Leipold, Executive Director of Greenpeace International said: “No science justifies the killing of whales. This is simply an underhand attempt by the Icelandic government to resume commercial whaling.”

The Rainbow Warrior has been diverted from the Mediterranean and is scheduled to arrive in just over 2 weeks. The first voyage of the Rainbow Warrior in 1978 was to Iceland to confront commercial whalers. Greenpeace is now returning to support local groups who also fear the government announcement is a first step towards a resumption of full-scale whaling.

Many local groups in Iceland have already expressed serious concerns about the government plans. One whale watching station flew the national flag at half-mast the day the resumption was announced. The whale watching industry in Iceland generates significant income, which would be seriously threatened by commercial hunting. (1)

Gerd Leipold campaigned in Iceland 25 years ago to stop the practice, and will be returning with the Rainbow Warrior to meet local people and discuss with them the way forward. He said:

Whaling is part of Iceland’s past, and must remain so. Some people of Iceland may regret this because whaling was so much a part of their life. Whilst we don’t expect to change everyone’s minds, Greenpeace hopes that we are able to give many Icelanders the confidence to say no to whaling – forever. A clear message must go to the Icelandic government – globally, as well as directly from the people of Iceland – that this will not be tolerated. Iceland can make more money from whale watching than whale killing and should be doing all it can to protect
those whales in its seas.

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