Greenpeace blocks 'illegal timber' shipment
21 November 2003 , AMSTERDAM — After blockading the harbour of IJmuiden on Thursday night, 13 Greenpeace activists chained themselves to a cargo ship docked in Amsterdam on Friday to protest against its alleged illegal load of Cameroon timber.
21 November 2003
AMSTERDAM — After blockading the harbour of IJmuiden on Thursday night, 13 Greenpeace activists chained themselves to a cargo ship docked in Amsterdam on Friday to protest against its alleged illegal load of Cameroon timber.
The activists chained themselves to the loading ramp and cranes of the NDS Prominence, threatening to continue the action until the unloading of the ship has been banned. They are also demanding that customs investigate the ship's cargo, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
Harbour authority Gemeentelijk Havenbedrijf has said it cannot intervene because inspection service AID has examined the cargo documents and confirmed no illegal wood is on board. The harbour authority and Greenpeace are now locked in discussions in a bid to resolve the stand-off.
Friday's protest action came after environmentalists used canoes and life rafts on Thursday night to block shipping at IJmuiden — located at the mouth of the Noordzeekanaal which links Amsterdam to the North Sea. Consultations with harbour authorities and police failed to immediately end the blockade, Radio Netherlands reported.
Greenpeace was protesting against the arrival of the NDS Prominence, claiming it is transporting illegal wood from Cameroon. The lobby group claims illegal wood cutters are rapidly felling the Central African nation's rain forest.
The action was designed to prevent the unloading of the ship and Greenpeace demanded customs official seize the timber. The action was part of the Greenpeace "Illegal Wood is Criminal" campaign.
It claims that companies illegally fell trees in Cameroon regions where they are not permitted, fell too many trees or protected species. The habitat of threatened chimpanzees and forest elephants is thus being reduced as one of the world last large rainforest areas disappears, it said.
But Greenpeace — which claims the Netherlands imports 1 million cubic metres of illegal wood each year and is urging Dutch residents to report suspect wood — later agreed to lift the blockade when it was eventually decided that activists could be present when customs officials inspected the ship.
More information can be found on the Greenpeace website: www.greenpeace.nl.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Dutch news