Greenpeace climbers stop import of African rainforest destruction

Timber from Great Ape Rainforests

Feature story - 15 April, 2002
At 11am today, five Greenpeace climbers boarded the MV Roxane Delmas to stop wood from Central Africa's threatened Great Ape Rainforest coming into the UK.

Gorillas' survival endangered by logging of ancient African forests.

Teams of Greenpeace volunteers headed out this morning in their zodiacs to pursue the Roxanne Delmas. Just before 11 am, the activists caught up with the ship as it approached London's Tilbury Docks in the Thames Esturary. The climbers managed to attach themselves to the stern door of the moving ship.

Activists also painted the words "Gorilla Killers" on the side of the ship. The ship contains wood illegally harvested from Central Africa's Great Ape Rainforest, which is home to gorillas and chimpanzees. One type of wood being imported in this ship, sapele timber, is the same as that being used for doors and windows in the

British government's cabinet office. British Prime Minister Tony Blair claims the sapele wood is certified, but Greenpeace has been leaked documents proving this to be untrue.

When the Roxane Delmas tried to dock at Tilbury, Greenpeace volunteers in a Zodiac and two canoes together prevented the ship from entering Tilbury docks. The ship was diverted to Tilbury Ferry terminal, further down the Thames from the Tilbury docks.

Volunteer climbers then safely made their way up to the top of the ship and got ready to do some painting.

Timber aboard the Roxanne Delmas is believed to have come from

Vicwood-Thanry, one of the most notorious loggers in the Central African region. The company has been criticized by the government in Cameroon, where it operates, and has been fined for activities. Roads opened up by such logging companies make it easier for bushmeat hunters to enter forests and kill endangered apes.