For the past couple of days, a group of Greenpeace climbers have been perched on top of a set of cranes in the port of La Rochelle on the French Atlantic coast. As well as admiring a no-doubt magnificent view, they're also preventing a ship unloading its cargo of timber which has come from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The company logging the timber, Lebanese-owned Trans-M (another snappy corporate name!), has been given titles spanning 746,000 hectares of the DRC forest but this is in breach of the logging moratorium set up in 2002. Supposedly, no new contracts are to be issued and existing ones aren't to be renewed or extended, but somehow Trans-M have managed to set up shop and ship rainforest timber back to Europe.
This blockade is only the latest action our continental offices have taken to prevent Congolese timber coming into the EU. Over the past few weeks, imports of DRC timber were stopped in by volunteers in both Antwerp in Belgium (the link isn't in English, but there is a subtitled video and a great slideshow) and Salerno in Italy - it's demand for tropical timber in Europe and around the world drive the destruction of the forest in Africa.
As for those climbers, they managed 45 hours on top of the crane before being forced down. I'm not sure if it's a record, but it's a pretty impressive stint.