It started at 11 in the morning here and about 7 am in India. Its been more than 4 hours since 6 activists have boarded the MV Meister which is carrying coal to Asia in an act of civil disobedience to stop coal exports from Australia. Greenpeace Australia Pacific has been campaigning against coal expansion in Australia which will expose the world to 705 million tonnes of CO2, almost double of Australia’s emissions, exacerbating climate change and global warming.
The activists boarded the ship at around 7 am while it was moving and have peacefully occupied the stern of the ship. At the same time, Peter Willcox (captian of Rainbow Warrior) got in touch with the Captian of MV Meister and explained the intentions behind the peaceful protest-“ This is Greenpeace. We have six volunteers boarding your ship. This is a peaceful protest. They will not interfere with your ship or its equipment, and will remain on the deck. Australia’s coal is driving climate change. Greenpeace is taking action to stop this threat. Do you copy?”
Currently, all are safe and have communicated their peaceful intentions to the Captian of the MV Meister. The activists represent the multi-cultural aspect of Greenpeace- 2 are from Australia, and one each from India, China, USA and New Zealand. Each of these countries are grappling with mindless coal and fossil fuel expansion.
Gaurav, the activist from India, is a well known national climber, an outdoor educator and a trainer in industrial climbing. As an activist, he has been involved in many protests, notably climbing a coal-fired power plant chimney in Kolaghat, West Bengal in 2008 and was detained in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009 for urging governments to act on climate change. He has a wife and toddler back home, and they must be waiting to hear from him. We are in touch with the activists continuously and are following them on Rainbow Warrior III.
The ship continues to move towards South Korea, its destination. However, they have gotten in touch with their corporate bosses and Australian Coast Guard officials regarding their response to this peaceful protest. We have been communicating continuously on the radio with them and while they are concerned, they seem to understand the nature and reasons for this protest. Meanwhile, the Australian coast guard is monitoring the situation through their helicopter and are flying over us.
More as it unfolds. Upwards and onwards!