Activists circle the Vietnamese vessel, Ha Tihn 06 with a banner reading - stop forest crime - Greenpeace assisted the Indonesian Navy to expel the vessel, as part of a blockade in Central Kalimantan that has been ongoing for 10 days.
The Ha Tinh 06, owned by the Vietnamese government and
registered in Haiphong, had been waiting to load in the Kumai Bay
area for 10 days, but has been prevented from loading thanks to our
sustained presence in the area. Central Kalimantan is notorious for
illegal logging, and the power and violence of the timber
Andrew our web editor on the Rainbow Warrior explains how t he
action unfolded: "We've been quietly dogging the Vietnamese flagged
Ha Tinh for the last 10 days. We first found the freighter trying
to get a pilot (guide) for the Kumai River. There's not much to
load up the Kumai except illegal logs and timber from unlicensed
sawmills. The Ha Tinh is a good-sized ship that could hold more
than a million dollars (US) worth of illegal logs.
"For four days the Vietnamese government owned Ha Tinh called
over and over by radio for a pilot. They were ignored - we suspect
because everyone knew the Rainbow Warrior was in the area, which
made the Ha Tinh too hot to deal with. Finally though, the Ha Tinh
went up the river. Then, after a few days, it came back down the
river, and returned to anchor (empty). But two days later it went
back up the river."
To try and find out what the Vietnamese boat was doing a spotter
plane was hired to fly up the river, find out what was going on and
to gather evidence. The plane found the Ha Tinh, hatches open,
docked at a yard full of squared off logs, which are illegal for
This is in direct contravention of an Indonesian Ministerial
Decree. We sent the photographic evidence taken from the plane to
the Minister of Forests, who urged the navy to intervene. This
action resulted in today's win as there was soon an Indonesian
navel ship in the area.
"This morning - with a patrol ship in tow - the Rainbow Warrior
returned to Kumai Bay, we launched our boats, radioed the Ha Tinh,
began driving in circles around the freighter and generally raised
a ruckus," explains Andrew
"What followed was a conversation between the navy ship and the
Ha Tinh. At this point we backed the Rainbow Warrior off. The navy
boarded the Ha Tinh, and later ordered them out of Indonesian
waters.One freighter sent home empty won't save Indonesia's
forests, but today did show that it is possible to stop the timber
Currently Indonesia and Vietnam have no bilateral agreement in
order to combat the illegal timber trade. Options are available to
them to open up and conclude an agreement under the Forest Law
Enforcement and Governance process.
The extent of the illegal logging in this region is massive. We
are calling on the international community and their law
enforcement agencies, to swiftly make inroads to end the
destruction. In particular the Indonesian regional police need to
enforce the law of Indonesia.
Check out the
narrated slide show of the aerial photos taken by the Rainbow
Warrior crew up the Lamandau River
Check out the live
weblog from the Rainbow Warrior, on forest patrol in
Check out the live weblog
from the Arctic Sunrise, on forest patrol in Patagonia.
Become a Forest