Greenpeace stops ship loading rainforest timber

Feature Story - 2008-09-03
(UPDATED!) Greenpeace has stopped a ship loading piles of logged timber from the Paradise Forests.

Activists from the Greenpeace ship, Esperanza, aided by local landowners, halt the loading of timber onto the Harbour Gemini.

The ship, Harbour Gemini, was loading timber in Papua New Guinea, at Paia Inlet, Gulf Province, and was bound for China. Four activists from the Greenpeace ship, Esperanza, climbed a loading crane to hang a huge banner reading 'Protect Forests, Save Our Climate'.

Watch a slideshow of the Greenpeace team boarding the Harbour Gemini.

Watch the action on the Esperanza webcam.

UPDATE Morning, 4 September 2008 (Day 2): Activists climb aboard log barges close to the Harbour Gemini ship and paint messages on the side: "Forest Destruction", "Climate Crime" and "Moratorium Now".

Four other activists remain with their "Protect Forests, Save our Climate" banner after over 24 hours atop the loading crane of the Harbour Gemini.

 

On board the Esperanza is Greenpeace China's forest campaigner, Yilan. Her Forests for Climate tour blog (Chinese only) is packed with exciting videos and pictures from the scene.

Why are we doing this?

Protecting forests saves our climate. Forest destruction accounts for around 20 percent of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions every year. Logging in Papua New Guinea's (PNG) rainforests is out of control.

"We've stopped the loading of this shipment with support from resource owners whose rainforest, which they depend upon for survival, is being destroyed," said Sam Moko, Greenpeace forest campaigner, on board the Harbour Gemini logging ship.

"We need to urgently protect these ancient forests to save our climate. Greenpeace is asking the Papua New Guinea government to establish a moratorium on any new large-scale logging concessions or extensions."

What is China's role in this?

China is central to the laundering of illegal timber from some of the world's most endangered forests.

Read Greenpeace's 2006 report: "Sharing the Blame: Global Consumption and China's Role in Ancient Forest Destruction."

PNG's record of corruption and lies

The PNG government has been asking for international money to protect its forests and benefit the global climate. But still illegal and destructive logging continues.

The government has a very poor forest management record, wrapped in accusations of corruption and misappropriation of funds.

Recently, logging companies allegedly paid US$67 million into a government minister's private Singapore bank account.

If Papua New Guinea is seeking carbon financing support to save their forest, there must be an investigation into these allegations.

Locals demand an investigation

Local resource owners in the Turama Extension concession area have repeatedly asked the government for 13 years to investigate documented breaches of forestry laws by Turama Forest Industries, a Rimbunan Hijau Group company. Nothing has been done.

Read a portrait of illegal logger Rimbunan Hijau.

Kemaru Garry Bissue, is Chairman of the Kikori Environmental Association and a landowner from the Kibiri tribe. His tribe has asked the PNG government to act on recommendations of a 2004 World Bank review of logging concessions granted on their land.

"We are here to protest the total disrespect of Turama Forest Industries and their logging agreement with our people. The company has abused our sacred sites, polluted our river, logged too close to our villages, made our food resources scarce and is withholding payments of royalties," said Kemaru.

Read our blog from the scene

Experience the action. Read Greenpeace China's Forests for Climate blog from Papua New Guinea (Chinese only).

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