• Short Summary


    Crew members of the anti-nuclear yacht 'Pacific Peacemaker' returning to Australia said they feared for their lives when it was runned by a French coastguard vessel 'Tapatai' near Mururoa Atoll in the Pacific.

  • Description

    1. Aerial Pacific Peacemaker, 54-foot steel ketch on route to Moruroa with crew of twelve on board including three New Zealanders - Ian Gaillard, Alan Carrol and Nei Heremeia.
    2. At 2.00 pm Tuesday 30 March (other side of international date line) Scott Ethell age 10 looks up as Pacific Peacemaker is burned by French military aircraft flying at approx 200-feet.
    3. The following morning Wednesday 31st the French vessel Tapatai which has shadowed Peacemaker all night approaches.
    4. Gendames board the Peacemaker. Their badges indicate they are from the Coastguard and they are armed.
    5. Following questions they indicate Peacemaker is at the twelve mile limit and must not proceed. They also check Peacemaker exact position then leave having refused to take the message asking for a meeting with Admiral Choupin at Moruroa.
    6. Later that day some attempts are made to contact Tapatai by radio, semaphore and waving the envelope they knew contained the message. Tapatai beams away so Peacemaker heads for Moruroa now going inside the 12-mile limit.
    7. Tapatai approaches and stops. This is the second time the Gendames gone on board by Zodiac and once again Bill Ethell impresses on them the significance of the message and Peacemakers desire to communicate with the military.
    8. First the Gendames just say it would be best for Peacemaker to go direct to Papeete but after discussion they agree to set up a communication to the High Commissioner in Papeete. This does not happen within the two hour time limit agreed to so Peacemaker heads once again to Moruroa. It is late afternoon - will Peacemaker made it by dark.
    9. The morning of April 1st finds Peacemaker again heading into Moruroa - about four miles from the stell. Tapatai comes in very close attempting to push Peacemaker off course while tough crew of Tapatai look on. Bill Ehtell records what is happening. To avoid a collision Peacemaker veers off course in a full circle.
    10. Tapatai comes back again and these dramatic stills show the kind of harrassment proceeding the ranning. Tapatai zodiac presses against the rigging and the crane causes the mast to break.
    (Live action of mast breaking etc.)
    11. The situation is extremely dangerous for all on deck of Peacemaker. Tapatai pulls away then sends zodiac with two Gendames and two French Foreign Legionaires to Peacemaker. They refuse to assist with damaged mast, they refuse responsibility for command of Peacemaker, they just want to tow peacemaker to the twelve mile limit.
    12. While being towed a helicopter comes overhead and we have a clear view of the concrete bunker used for observing atmospheric tests.
    13. Outside the twelve mile limit, south-west of Moruroa, Peacemaker is abandoned by the Gendames.
    AERIAL VIEW of the Pacific Peacemaker, 10 year old Scott Ethell watching as a French military aircraft busses the yacht at a height of about two hundred feet. The Tapatai approaching, Armed coastguards boarding the Pacific Peacemaker, Coastguards questioning the crew, Coastguards leaving after refusing to carry a message asking for a meeting with Admiral Choupin at Moruroa, Attempts being made to contact the Tapatai by radio, semaphore & by waving the message, Tapatai approaches again, The coastguards board Pacific Peacemaker, Bill Ethell again expresses a desire to meet with the military authorities, Coastguards leave, Tapatai attempts to push Pacific Peacemaker off course, Pacific Peacemaker veers off in a full circle to avoid collision, Tapatai approaches again, STILLS of the type of harassment proceeding the running, Tapatai's sodiac presses against Peacemaker's rigging and the erase causes the most to break. Tapatai sends two gendarmes & two Foreign Legionnaires aboard Peacemaker, Tapatai tows Peacemaker to the twelve mile limit, View of the concrete bunker used for observing tests, Peacemaker is abandoned outside the twelve mile limit.

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved


    Crew members of the anti-nuclear yacht 'Pacific Peacemaker' returning to Australia said they feared for their lives when it was runned by a French coastguard vessel 'Tapatai' near Mururoa Atoll in the Pacific. The yacht was disabled in steeply pitching seas with sails down and engines stopped. The aluminium missen mast was snapped by the collision. The yacht sailed inside the twelve mile limit despite two warnings from the French ship. It limped back to Pateete, Tahiti where it was impounded by the French authorities. The captain Bill Ethell, whose wife and four children were also on board, was charged with a breach of the territorial limit and faces up to six months in jail if found guilty.


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