Fish, ships and batterings mark history of trawler that became Rainbow Warrior

SHE started life as a fishing trawler built in Yorkshire – but had a few batterings of her own in her later career as the Rainbow Warrior.

In nearly 22 years of service to environmental campaign group Greenpeace, she has been rammed, boarded, impounded and shot at during her missions at the sharp end of protest.

She is the second ship to bear the name – her predecessor having been sunk in a New Zealand harbour by French secret service agents during nuclear tests in the Pacific in 1985.

Now Greenpeace chiefs are deciding her fate after commissioning a custom-built third Rainbow Warrior, currently being constructed in Germany.

Rainbow Warrior II, as she is sometimes called, was originally built by Cochrane and Sons in Selby in 1957 for Grimsby-based deep sea fishing firm Ross Group, of Ross Frozen Foods fame.

Operations manager Manuel Pinto who sailed with her many times, told the Yorkshire Post: "I think she participated in every kind of protest that you can imagine in relation to the environment. The only thing she did not do was go into the Polar region because she was not Ice Class."

Mr Pinto recalled a mission to foil French nuclear tests in 1995: "The only way they managed to stop us was they had a petrol-driven angle grinder, and they had to physically cut through the stern and physically go down to the engine room and stop the engines by hand." Mr Pinto said there was still no final decision about her future, with options ranging from her becoming a museum or hospital ship, or even scrapping her.

The new vessel, which is being designed as a sailing ship and will incorporate the latest in green marine technology, will be launched in October, in time for Greenpeace's 40th anniversary.