It was a good day.
Just before 8 am four Zodiacs left the Arctic Sunrise to greet the Algomarine, a Great Lakes freighter.
I saw, or more specifically listened to, everything from the bridge with the captain.
After the zodiacs left, I radioed the captain of the Algomarine and told him that there were four zodiacs headed towards his ship to show peaceful opposition to the 30,000 tons of coal he was delivering to Nanticoke coal station.
I spoke to him about why the activists were coming. I told him that to stop dangerous climate change within the next 10-15 years the or the world will face droughts, floods, sea-level rise and environmental refugees. I told him that Nanticoke is Ontario’s biggest threat to the climate and that coal he was delivering was killing the climate. I told him we have the solutions to shut Nanticoke down, but that the Ontario government isn’t investing in them. Instead they are building nuclear plants, which take 10 – 15 years to build, that are a dangerous distraction from solutions that can be deployed quickly – renewables, conservation and local generation.
I asked the captain of the Algomarine as a citizen of the world refuse to deliver his coal. The response was radio silence.
The captain and I could hear the success of the action by radio banter between the crew of the Algomarine and the police.
When the activists boarded the ship and locked themselves down the ship changed course and anchored. Success. We managed to stop the delivery of coal.
A big stress during the day was getting the word out to the media on what was happening. There was a lull between stopping the coal shipment and the media response.
Then the media calls started pouring in. By 3 in the afternoon most of the communications team’s cell batteries were going dead so we huddled around the one power bar on the ship that takes North American electrical plugs. A little comical, but stressful because you couldn’t even hear yourself think.
My favorite media interview of the day was with a Toronto Sun reporter. After a tour of the ship he turned to me and said “Shawn-Patrick you’re a nice guy. All you guys are nice. I thought I wouldn’t like Greenpeacers.” I thought he was a nice guy too.
The day ended with me negotiating with the police. After the activists were arrested the ship dropped anchor in canal immediately in front of Nanticoke. The police agreed to giving us unhindered passage back to Toronto
In total, we stopped the delivery of coal for over 12 hours. Some will say this is merely symbolic, but did what we set out to do. We stood up and said Nanticoke’s operation is wrong. It’s killing the planet. It needs to stop. And as citizens of the world we need to make sure that it is shut down.