The vessel also sailed against over fishing, whaling, global warming and other environmental crimes

Greenpeace's famous protest ship, the Rainbow Warrior II, arrived in Bangladesh on Monday, ready to be turned into a floating hospital.

2011.8.30- Rainbow Warrior II.jpg

Bangladeshi charity Friendship, which was given the ship by the environmental campaign group this month, said it will take six months to convert the 55-metre long vessel - renamed Rongdhonu, meaning Rainbow - into a hospital. "We are very happy to receive this ship as we will now be able to help the impoverished communities in Bangladesh's coastal areas," Friendship's director Runa Khan said at a welcome ceremony at the port in Chittagong.

"There are many remote, impoverished communities in our costal areas which have few medical services - this ship will help us cater to their needs."

Greenpeace's original Rainbow Warrior was sunk by French intelligence agents in 1985 in New Zealand in a bid to stop activists from protesting against France's nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean.

It was replaced by Rainbow Warrior II, which first sailed for the organisation in 1989.

The ship was used by the organisation to confront environmental crimes and nuclear testing, and it also provided disaster relief to victims of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia.

The vessel also "sailed against over fishing, whaling, war, global warming and other environmental crimes on every ocean of the world," Greenpeace said in a statement at the handover ceremony.

The ship will be taken over by a new 15-strong Bangladeshi crew.

Source: AFP