Greenpeace launches emergency fact-finding mission on risks to Great Barrier Reef

Press release - 6 December, 2013
Brisbane, 6 December 2013 - The largest ship in the Greenpeace fleet has been urgently directed to the Great Barrier Reef coast to investigate the damaging impacts of coal port development and climate change on the Reef.

The Esperanza is currently berthed in Brisbane and will depart on Sunday for a week documenting threats to the reef from port developments and climate change, including at Gladstone Harbour, Hay Point and Abbot Point.

Greenpeace Queensland Campaigner Louise Matthiesson said the rapid expansion of coal developments along the Reef coast and the pressures from climate change are placing this natural wonder of the world at extreme risk.

“The fact-finding tour comes at a critical time with important decisions being made about coal port developments, including a decision on expanding the Abbot Point coal terminal due by 13 December,” Ms Matthiesson said today.

“It’s hard to believe that Australian governments are set to allow the world’s largest coal export port to be built on the Reef coast.

“Coal port expansion can only happen at the detriment of the environment and the $6 billion tourism industry that relies on a healthy reef.

“Esperanza will travel up the Reef coast over the next week documenting the risks to the Reef from industrial activity and stories from local community members who will be impacted.

“We want to show Australian governments and the international community the incredible natural beauty of the Reef – and why it needs urgent strong protection.

“If we don’t act now, we risk destroying a global treasure and Queensland’s premier tourism asset,” she said.

File photos and video of the Esperanza are available on request.

For more information, contact Jane Garcia on 0434 489 533

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