Can't keep a good ship down

IssueSeptember - November 2004

On 19 July the historic peace vessel the Fri sank in a dock at the shipyard where she was built in 1912. According to custodian David Moodie Fri was “helpless, caught in a trap of bureaucracy, marriage troubles, lack of money and lack of interest”.

It had been five years since the boat's last voyage and, unfortunately, 30 years of projects' archives, personal correspondence, photo albums, videos, a comprehensive library, museum tools and machines, all went down too.

During its 92 years afloat the boat played a role in many humanitarian actions, including: saving Jews in the Second World War; native Americans' occupation of Alcatraz; anti-nuke testing protests at Mouraroa; taking a freedom library to occupied Namibia; the Smiling Sun anti nuclear power tour; and in taking medicine to Nicaragua.

Commenting that “Fri has been a dear tool in the service of the planet,” Moodie added “To demonstrate that you can't keep a good ship down, we made a spectacular green portrait, setting the spirit of the ship sailing in a field by the forest where some of her original timbers came from” (pictured).

Fri's custodians have since raised the boat and are looking for support for their attempt to find a new “occupation” for the ship. Requesting help for the venture Moodie says “ideas, materials, volunteer help, money, love and solidarity, that's what created her story, and that's what's still needed.”