Victory! Greenpeace can continue to speak for the oceans

UN maritime organisation backs away from expulsion decision

Feature story - November 21, 2003
The International Maritime Organisation, which was considering expulsion of Greenpeace for "unsafe seamanship" has accepted Greenpeace's arguments and bowed to pressure from cyberactivists the world over -- Greenpeace will continue to speak for the oceans in a body dominated by the interests of the oil and shipping industries.

IMO rejects proposal to evict Greenpeace from the UN body responsible for governance of the oceans.

It was touch and go for a while, but Greenpeace survived an attempt by flag of convenience states and other targets of Greenpeace actions to evict us from the UN organisation charged with ensuring "cleaner seas" and "safer shipping."

Ironically, Greenpeace was accused of recklessness at sea by a body which defends the interests of the industry responsible for the Exxon Valdez and Prestige oil spills.

We're pleased that the IMO have acknowledged the valuable role that Greenpeace plays in speaking for the oceans.

We will continue working within the IMO to bring attention to issues

such as ship breaking, tanker safety and protected areas, where the IMO needs to take urgent action.

Last month, we requested written clarification from IMO member states as to where they stood on supporting our eviction. We published the results on our website and called upon our worldwide cyberactivist network to send messages of protest to selected delegations that were wavering or supporting our eviction.

In the final forty-eight hours before Friday's meeting, member states began to express their support explicitly.

"It's yet another example of how the power of public attention can stop our opponents from quietly attempting to silence us," said Paul Horsman, campaigner for Greenpeace. A previous decision in June by the Chair of the IMO to evict Greenpeace had been described as "final" until press attention questioning the move caused a strategic retreat, and the decision was forwarded to the current Assembly meeting. The June decision was taken without a vote while Singapore held the chair.

"In a body dominated by special interests, we see it as our role to remind the IMO of their real constituents: the future generations who have a right to clean oceans," said Horsman.

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