A motor boat from the Greenpeace fleet rammed at full speed the starboard side of FRA-69 yesterday, whilst FRA-69 was at the time moored at the syndicate's base.
The damage is significant, the boat has suffered delamination over an area of about half a square metre just behind the starboard chainplates, a structurally complex part of the boat that supports loads of up to 25 tonnes. The damage requires a complete survey of the boat¹s structure.
Xavier de Lesquen, syndicate head of the Défi Areva " This was a deliberate act of aggression, already planned yesterday, the eam have been endlessly insulted and abused on the water as they prepared for the launch ceremony. This morning the threshold of tolerance was crossed. These people respect nothing, not even their own statements about only making passive demonstrations. I have to remind you that Greenpeace are completely isolated in this action. This is the work of 15 extremists who have gathered just for this occasion. Today they put the lives of the team in danger."
"Don¹t be mistaken, the Défi Areva team trains six days a week on the water. These demonstrators are here just for media occasions. Our sadness today is because we are now unable to show the people of Lorient our new boat and join them for the festival they have organised in our honour. Our team is living a fantastic human adventure along with all of our partners and suppliers and in particular Areva. The population of Lorient supports us on a daily basis and share their motivation with us for success."
Jacques-Emmanuel Saulnier, director of communication and spokesman for the Areva Group "We are amazed by this hooligan behaviour, which we condemn. It illustrates to everyone the intolerance and dogmatism of Greenpeace. Pushed to the extreme they have put the team in danger and have damaged the boat that has just left the building yard. It shows a lack of respect for the work of others which is totally unacceptable. Areva and the Défi have decided ton live this America¹s Cup adventure together and carry the French colours proudly. It is with this spirit that we have been working together over the past six months, and it is with this spirit that we will continue to work for the service of sport and its values."
Jean-Yves Le Drian, President of the Lorient Regional Council " With this intolerable action which we wholeheartedly condemn our thoughts are with the people of Lorient who will now no longer be able to see the new boat this evening. We are proud of the team that will carry the French colours in Auckland and that they have chosen to prepare and train in Lorient, we were also excited that the people of Lorient were to experience the new boat before the rest of France. The festival will take place but sadly without the new boat."