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Hey, Vous, Get Offa Our Boats

Outside magazine, March 1996

Hey, Vous, Get Offa Our Boats
By Todd Balf and Paul Kvinta (with Brian Alexander and Steve Law)

Now that France is winding down its nuclear chest-thumping in the South Pacific, Greenpeace has retreated to take stock and plan its counterattack. Still in French possession, alas, is the bulk of the group's protest arsenal: two ships, three sailboats, one helicopter, and a fleet of inflatables. "And our people were dragged all over the world without being charged," insists the environmental group's Tom Clements. Greenpeace has retaliated with a legal blitzkrieg, suing France for kidnapping, false imprisonment, and assault. As for the confiscated vessels, a Tahitian court ruled in December that France could keep the spoils, but Greenpeace continues to pursue recovery actions in France and the United States, where the ships are registered. "The French should take no comfort in this," said Greenpeace lawyer Duncan Currie after the Tahitian rebuff. "It's a triumph of brute force over law."

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