Greenpeace blockade of illegal logs continues; local workers refuse to load logs

Press release - 14 May, 2002

Tropical forest in the Pacific

Barge workers near Umuda Island have refused to load any more illegally and destructively extracted logs from the Kiunga Aiambak logging project.

The workers were loading logs onto the Hua Yang before Greenpeace volunteers arrived and occupied both the logging ship and barge on Sunday afternoon. But today they were ferried back to their villages by a small Greenpeace boat after saying they would not load any more logs for the Malaysian company Concord Pacific.

The barge workers have also written to Concord Pacific, complaining about unsafe working conditions aboard company barges.

Activists from the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise have stopped the export of logs from the Kiunga Aiambak project at the request of landowners, who say the logging is causing them environmental, social and economic hardship.

"We are committed to staying on board these ships until the government agrees to stop logging at the Kiunga Aiambak area," said Greenpeace campaigner aboard the Arctic Sunrise, Bianca Havas. "The government needs to reimburse landowners for their losses and reject any expansion of the logging project."

Also at the action site today: Three Greenpeace activists remain attached to the Hua Yang's cranes. Four remain on the log barge.

A "Mr Roy", the Concord Pacific representative, cut down the Greenpeace banner reading "Ancient Forest Crime" on the Hua Yang's cranes.

At one stage, the captain of Hua Yang turned on ship's engine and sounded its horn -- which is usually an indication a ship is to sail. However the ship remained in place.

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