Greenpeace blockade of illegal PNG log shipment continues

Local workers refuse to load logs

Feature story - 14 May, 2002
A Greenpeace action to stop the export of illegally and destructively logged timber from Papua New Guinea to China continued into its third day today.

Greenpeace activists & local workers occupy log barge at Umuda Island.

The action began on 12 May when Greenpeace acitivists from the MV Arctic Sunrise occupied a barge and crane to prevent the loading of logs at Umuda Island in the western part of the country.

Today three Greenpeace activists remain on the crane, and four on the barge. But local people are also playing a major part in the action. Barge workers who were loading logs onto the vessel Hua Yang have left.

The barge workers were ferried back to their villages by a small Greenpeace boat today. They say they will not load any more logs for the logging company, Concord Pacific. The barge workers have also written to Concord Pacific to complain about unsafe working conditions aboard company barges.

Also today, a representative of Concorde Pacific, Mr. Hoy, cut down the banner that Greenpeace activists had erected on May 12 on the cranes of the Hua Yang. The banner read "Ancient Forest crime."

The Hua Yang's captain again told workers that the police would arrive by helicopter and boat but no police have been to the scene as yet.

The timber in question is illegally and destructively extracted from the Kiunga Aiambak logging project. Malaysian logging company Concord Pacific has taken these logs from the local landowner communities in Papua New Guinea with complete disregard for the environment and the well being of citizens. The logs are then exported mostly to China where they are processed into furniture and plywood for American and European markets.

The logging by Concord Pacific is clearly illegal and is destroying the world´s third largest tropical ancient forest. Most of the logs are exported to China, Japan and Korea, where they are used to make furniture, flooring and cheap plywood.

Bianca Havas, a Greenpeace campaigner on board the Artic Sunrise said, "We are committed to staying on board these ships until the government agrees to stop logging at the Kiunga Aiambak area."

Landowner communities frustrated by the inaction of Papua New Guinea and international governments over the logging of their forests have asked Greenpeace to help save their forest home.

"The Papua New Guinea government must shut down Concord Pacific´s scandalous logging operation," Havas said.

"Concord Pacific customers like Lei Sing Hong and Kam Hing in China and Nissho Iwai from Japan must stop buying ancient forest destruction before more communities lose their livelihoods and one of the last ancient forests is destroyed forever."

Today´s action follows anti-logging activity in Hong Kong last week. Greenpeace China volunteers served a "injunction" on Lei Sing Hong, asking it to stop importing logs from Concord Pacific.