Greenpeace Guerrillas Back On Yacht, Heading To Tahiti
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) _ A Greenpeace protester was back aboard his yacht today after two weeks of playing cat and mouse with French security forces near the Mururoa Atoll nuclear test site.
David McTaggart’s boat, the Vega, is heading back to Tahiti to recruit more boats to return to the test zone to protest France’s decision to resume nuclear testing in the South Pacific, Greenpeace said.
McTaggart of Canada and two other Greenpeace activists launched an inflatable speedboat from the Vega on July 9 and disappeared near the atoll as French commandos stormed the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior II.
The trio communicated only olce with Greenpeace before returning to the Vega, where they were spotted Saturday by the French military 125 miles north of Mururoa Atoll. The French said they had found evidence of a camp site on Vanavana Atoll, 75 miles from Mururoa.
Rainbow Warrior skipper David Enever said today he spoke with McTaggart Sunday night but discussed little of the mission because they were talking by radio and did not want their conversation intercepted by French authorities.
About 100 boats are expected to join an anti-nuclear flotilla that is scheduled to set sail in mid-August and reach Mururoa by early September.
Australia will try to increase pressure on France to cancel the tests at the upcoming forum of southeast Asian nations in Brunei.
More than 175 international legal and environmental scholars have signed a memorandum challenging the legality of the proposed tests. They say international law obligates France to prevent harm to the marine environment, the environment of other countries and human health.
Organizer Donald Anton, a Melbourne University lecturer, said France’s treaty obligations required it at least to conduct an independent and public environmental impact assessment.
France has remained impassive despite growing world condemnation and a mounting threat of economic boycotts.