Rainbow Warrior, the flagship of the environmental organization Greenpeace, was sunk by two underwater mines placed by agents of the French government in Marsden Wharf, New Zealand.

Photograph courtesy Greenpeace/John Miller
  • On July 10, 1985, the Greenpeace flagship, Rainbow Warrior, sank in the Auckland, New Zealand, harbor. French secret service agents bombed the ship, which was in New Zealand to protest French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. After two explosions damaged the ship, the Rainbow Warrior sunk, killing a Greenpeace photographer onboard. 

    Rainbow Warrior was named after a Cree legend about a group of people—the “Warriors of the Rainbow”—who would make the Earth “green again.” Greenpeace used the Rainbow Warrior to lead ocean protests surrounding pollution, overfishing, and nuclear testing.

    Today, Greenpeace has three ships: Rainbow Warrior III, Esperanza, and Arctic Sunrise.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    harbor Noun

    part of a body of water deep enough for ships to dock.

    Encyclopedic Entry: harbor
    Native American Noun

    person whose ancestors were native inhabitants of North or South America. Native American usually does not include Eskimo or Hawaiian people.

    pollution Noun

    introduction of harmful materials into the environment.

    Encyclopedic Entry: pollution
    protest noun, verb

    demonstration against a policy or action.