The New Zealand Frigate Otago today (Friday, 20th July) moved to within 12 miles of the French Pacific nuclear test site of Mururoa Atoll.
The New Zealand Frigate Otago today (Friday, 20th July) moved to within 12 miles of the French Pacific nuclear test site of Mururoa Atoll. The warship was reported battened down in the belief that the first French nuclear detonation was imminent.
Film of the Otago in the area was shot earlier this week, as the ship played cat-and-mouse with French aircraft and ships. First, a long-range Neptune aircraft flew low over the Otago taking photographs, then a French minesweeper loomed over the horizon and for several hours shadowed the Otago at a distance of four miles, apparently on an identification mission.
Throughout these encounters, the Otago was flying the battle ensign -- the flag traditionally raised for action.
As expectation of the start of the French tests increased, New Zealand Minister for Immigration Fraser Colman, the cabinet member picked to sail with the Otago, was interviewed aboard the ship: