Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl said in Djibouti on Tuesday (4 April) that he and his international crew had set fire to their reed vessel -- the Tigris -- to jolt the conscience of the industrialised world.
GV & SV Crew standing on remains of reed craft (6 shots)
CU Crew members talking and drinking (4 shots)
SCU Thor Heyerdahl speaking in English (shot of crew members on remains of craft overlaid) (9 shots)
HEYERDAHL: "Well, it has indeed been a very sad decision to take, to set fire on my own proud ship while it was still in good shape, and could have gone as far as it has gone so far over again. But the decision was taken, and it was supported by all my crew of 11 men, representing countries from the east and from the west. Going into the Red Sea, there was war on one side. Friendly nations denied us access to enter their waters on the other side for fear of the dangers we may be involved in. So there was nothing left to do but to interrupt the expedition. To leave the boat here to decay would be a pity. I did not like to sell it to anybody for a souvenir, nor would I bring it back to my won museum in Oslo, which is filled, and being surrounded by warplanes and battleships, and all the problems that I have seen in this area, I decided to do this as a protest against the madness in our own mad time; against the armaments sent to people that our own ancestors tried to tell: 'Do not use the battle-axe, do not use sword.' I hope when people see our proud ship burning at the entrance to the Red Sea that they will think of all the people that suffer here, and that they will demand from their representative governments and do whatever they can to stop sending armaments to this part of the world."
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Background: Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl said in Djibouti on Tuesday (4 April) that he and his international crew had set fire to their reed vessel -- the Tigris -- to jolt the conscience of the industrialised world. He told reporters the burning was a protest against the war in the Horn of Africa, particularly the industrialised nations' supplying modern weapons to the combatants.
SYNOPSIS: The burning and the dismantling of the remains followed a ten-weeks voyage from Southern Iraq across the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea coast of Africa. The voyage was to prove the ancient Sumerians from Mesopotamia could have reached India and Africa in similar types of craft. During its 3,700 mile (6,000 kilometre) voyage, the Tigris was almost swamped by high seas, and had needed repairs, but was still oceanworthy.
After the burning, Professor Heyerdahl and his crew sent a message to United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim saying the aim of their voyage had been accomplished. They stressed that 11 men of different nationalities living in peaceful co-existence in a confined space for a long time had proved the futility of wars between nations. Later, Professor Heyerdahl justified his reasons for the boat's destruction.