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Historic peace ship Golden Rule visiting Maine with message of nuclear disarmament

Golden Rule in Portland recently.
Caty DuDevoir
/
FILE
Crew of the 30-ft., ketch Golden Rule, poses on deck in San Pedro, California on March 25, 1958, just before setting sail on second attempt to reach South Pacific to protest further H-bomb tests. On first voyage in February, the ketch was turned back by bad weather 700 miles at sea. From left to right are: Albert S. Bigelow, skipper; George Willougby, Orion Sherwood and William Huntington.

The 39-foot wooden ketch Golden Rule has docked in Portland, where its crew will make a plea for nuclear disarmament during a series of events this week.

The Golden Rule's "Peace Sailing Tour" of the eastern U.S. is organized by Veterans for Peace, which was founded in Maine.

The crew is traveling to 100 locations along the eastern half of the United States to educate communities about the ongoing global danger posed by nuclear weapons.

“Nuclear weapons are still here and are still a threat to life on this planet, so that's why I decided to get on board and maybe bring some awareness and bring that back to a topic of discussion,” said veteran activist and crew member Bill Good. “We need to start thinking about how can we get rid of nuclear weapons, and this is a great way to do it.”

Between 1946 and 1958, the United States organized 67 nuclear tests on the Marshall Islands and the surrounding area. In response, a group of Quaker activists set sail aboard the Golden Rule to the Marshall Islands to stop the U.S. from conducting nuclear testing in the region. However, the ship never made it as the U.S. Coast Guard arrested the crew.

Crew of the 30-ft., ketch Golden Rule, poses on deck in San Pedro, California on March 25, 1958, just before setting sail on second attempt to reach South Pacific to protest further H-bomb tests. On first voyage in February, the ketch was turned back by bad weather 700 miles at sea. From left to right are: Albert S. Bigelow, skipper; George Willougby, Orion Sherwood and William Huntington.
AP file
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AP
Crew of the 30-ft., ketch Golden Rule, poses on deck in San Pedro, California on March 25, 1958, just before setting sail on second attempt to reach South Pacific to protest further H-bomb tests. On first voyage in February, the ketch was turned back by bad weather 700 miles at sea. From left to right are: Albert S. Bigelow, skipper; George Willougby, Orion Sherwood and William Huntington.

In 2010, the Veterans for Peace restored the boat and has sailed it throughout the United States. Flags of 68 nations decorate the Golden Rule, representing the nations that have ratified the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. The crew members hope to raise visibility and pressure the U.S. government to sign the treaty.

“I feel like all of us that are here today are doing it for all the future generations of kids,” said Peggy Akers, a nurse during the Vietnam War and member of the Veterans for Peace.

The Golden Rule will continue her journey in Maine with stops in South Portland and Bath before heading south to New York City.

Follow the boat's journey via share.garmin.com/GoldenRule.