Currently a highly dangerous nuclear cargo is being transported across the Pacific en route from Japan to the UK. The two armed ships carrying enough plutonium to make 50 nuclear bombs have completely disregarded several requests from Pacific Governments to remain outside their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).
The BNFL Pacific Pintail breaching the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Federated States of Micronesia.
An accident or attack on a nuclear transport at sea could have
catastrophic consequences for coastal states, and yet the British
and Japanese governments have refused to consult with countries
along the route, not even concerning plans for emergencies or
liability agreements in the case of radioactive contamination.
This blatant disregard of the wishes of Pacific states and
international law of the sea demonstrates the absurd and dangerous
lengths to which the Japanese and British governments are willing
to go to prop up this dangerous, polluting industry. The irony is
that cleaner renewable energy could put an end to the need for
nuclear power but these governments in particular have yet to see
The ships are close to Rennel Island within the Solomon's EEZ
and Torres Island and Espiritu Santo within the Vanuatu EEZ. This
puts the ships on a course to transit through the EEZ of the
Pacific Island of New Caledonia.
British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) has ludicrously called us
irresponsible for publicising the location of this dangerous
shipment. It is they who are avoiding their responsibility says
Angenette Heffernan, Greenpeace nuclear campaigner.
"Under international law, BNFL is required to inform nations
that they are in their waters, and it was their irresponsibility in
falsifying crucial safety data which is bringing this shipment
through the region twice unnecessarily," said Angenette.
The Vanuatu Deputy Prime Minister Serge Vohor has accused Japan
and Britain of disrespecting his country's sovereignty.
Each nation has the right to protect the marine environment
within its EEZ from hazardous nuclear shipments under the Law of
the Sea Convention. The shipping states have not fulfilled their
obligations under the international Law of the Sea, which includes
consulting with en route states. Therefore the BNFL ships, the
Pacific Pintail and the Pacific Teal have jeopardised their right
to "freedom of navigation" within EEZs.
Protesters are setting sail from around the Pacific to form a
Nuclear Free Pacific Flotilla in the Tasman Sea. These protesters
share a common concern about the dangers posed by British Nuclear
Fuel's shipment of weapons-usable plutonium past their countries,
and they are determined to ensure it never happens again.
You can take action today to oppose the nuclear transport. Join the
Find out more about the flotilla participants at the Nuclear
Free Seas Flotilla website.
Visit Greenpeace's Stop Plutonium Terror website to learn more
about the plutonium shipment.