Italian Job Ends

Marathon Blockade Ends in Italy

Feature story - 13 May, 2004
Our marathon action in Chioggia, Italy came to an end last night after three days of protest when Italian police intervened to end our blockade of the Panama-registered bulk carrier, Keoyang Majesty, which is carrying 40,000 thousands tons of Argentine Genetically Engineered (GE) Soya.

Greenpeace canoeist arrested by the Guadia di Finanza during an action to prevent the offloading of 40,000 tonnes of Argentian GE Soya from the bulk carrier Keoyang Majesty.

Thanks to the determination of 18 activists from our ship, the Esperanza, this action has been going on since Sunday morning, when they first boarded the Keoyang Majesty displaying banners saying 'Don't Buy GE Food' and 'Defend Yourself from GMOs'.

Last night they left the GE ship for safety reasons, this morning the focus changed to preventing the trans-shipment system, used to offload the cargo from the ship onto small barges, actually reaching the ship. Two activists boarded one of the barges, ten activists climbed onto the elevator used to take the GE soya out of the GE ship and six activists were in canoes between the barge and the Keoyang Majesty.

As a result of the blockade the Italian Ministry of Health has committed itself to carry out an inspection of the GE Soya now being unloaded from the Keoyang Majesty in order to check whether the GE cargo complies with EU legislation.

Furthermore Pagnan, the company importing the GE soya meal, has stated to our campaigners in Italy that it will provide us with the list of the buyers for its cargo of soymeal. We will of course be taking this issue up with these companies and put pressure on them to go GE-free.

The Keoyang Majesty from Argentina is transporting GE soya meal for, among others, the multinational companies Bunge and Cargill, to be used for animal feed. Italy imports 4.2 million tons of soya annually for food and animal feed of which over 3 million tons are estimated to be GE or GE contaminated.

Daniela Montalto our GE campaigner from Argentina, who is on board the Esperanza said: "Argentina is determined to produce GE soya to feed pigs, cows and chickens in the developed world. Almost its entire production of soya is GE. What remains of the native forest lands are being converted for GE soya production, it is time to stop this environmental and social nightmare in Argentina."