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Greenpeace rammed America's Cup yacht

The French America's CupYacht "Areva" was holed when one of a flotilla of Greenpeace RIBs rammed the yacht on the starboard side. Several different environmental activist groups joined forces to protest the Areva sponsorship of the French America's Cup syndicate. Areva is a large international group involved in civil nuclear energy.

The Port of Lorient, the host town of the French syndicate, was active all weekend with several inflatable boats towing yellow barrels and steel wire nets threatening to close the harbour's narrow entrance to the sea. The boats, flying Greenpeace flags and banners, and accompanied by a fleet of sea kayaks, hovered ominously all day on Saturday in anticipation of FRA 69's departure for its first sea trials. Suddenly one of the RIBs found a gap, throttled up to about 15 knots and rammed FRA 69 just behind the starboard shrouds. The damaged area is about one square meter.

The two sides are at loggerheads over whether the action was accidental or deliberate. Greenpeace say the incident was unintentional and occurred as the RIB was trying to put someone ashore. However, the crew of Areva dispute Greenpeace's account that the ramming happened accidentally. They maintain that the RIB collided directly with the yacht at 15 knots and warn that they have video footage showing exactly what happened. Some 11 people were arrested after the collision.


26/5/2002

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