The George Washington in the Bay of Palma.

Greenpeace turned up the pressure on the nuclear powered aircraft carrier George Washington yesterday with the announcement that they were organising an anti-nuclear flotilla of boats to sail out the aircraft carrier. The protest has been organised for tomorrow at 11a.m. “If you have a boat or even a windsurfer you are more than welcome to join us. We want to show the authorities that we are against nuclear powered warships docking in Palma,” said Greenpeace yesterday. Earlier on Tuesday the environmental pressure group had stopped the carrier from mooring in Palma for more than nine hours. Various Greenpeace launches played cat and mouse with the 100'000-ton warship, the pride of the U.S. Navy. Members of Greenpeace were yesterday touring island yacht clubs to gain support for their anti-nuclear flotilla. The last such demonstration took place during the European Union summit at the Hotel Formentor and was called to protest against French nuclear trials in the Pacific. French President Jacques Chirac was attending the summit. More than 100 boats took part. Yesterday, a small demonstration took place in Palma against the aircraft carrier. Greenpeace says that the George Washington has two nuclear reactors double the size of the Royal Navy's Tireless which is undergoing repairs at Gibraltar. On Tuesday while the aircraft carrier was attempting to dock, the leader of the local government Francesc Antich said that nuclear warships were no longer welcome in the Bay of Palma. He has sent a letter to the Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar demanding that visits by nuclear warships to Spanish ports be banned. Oblivious to the controversy surrounding their visit the 5'000 strong crew of the George Washington are enjoying some leave in Palma after a long Mediterranean deployment. The aircraft carrier is now sailing home to its base in Norfolk, Virginia. The George Washington is a Nimitz class carrier and has an air group of 85 aircraft. Her nuclear propulsions mean that she has an unlimited range. As a result of all the protests it is unlikely that a nuclear warship will visit Palma again. Only five navies in the world are known to have nuclear vessels, Britain, France, the United States, China and Russia. The obvious advantages of nuclear powered warships are that they never have to be refueled.


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