Early this morning teams of climbers arrived from the Rainbow Warrior in boats to begin occupying the cranes in the port of Sao Luis while a second team climbed a pile of pig iron which was ready for loading. The Rainbow Warrior itself has come alongside a nearby cargo ship, the Clipper Hope, onto which the pig iron is to be loaded, to prevent it from leaving the port.
New evidence released by the environmental group shows how pig iron is linked to slave labor and illegal deforestation. Pig iron from the company that owns the cargo – Viena - is exported to A US company that claims to supply car makers including Ford, GM, Mercedes and BMW.
Speaking from the bridge of the Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace Brazil's Amazon Campaign director Paulo Adario said:
"We are here today to expose forest crime taking place in the heart of the Amazon. These crimes won't be addressed through empty words spoken in Brasilia. Government and industry must act on the ground, through increased governance and strong legal protection of the forest and people."
"In failing to completely block new 'forest code' legislation yesterday, President Dilma has turned a blind eye to the destruction of the Amazon and a deaf ear to the people of Brazil. She has made promises yet, until now, failed to deliver. Only by now supporting the call for new Zero Deforestation legislation can she now live up to her claim to be a protector of the Amazon."
Yesterday Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced that she would only partially veto changes to the country's 'forest code', and by doing so failed to heed the concerns of the majority of Brazilians who opposed such changes. The areas to be vetoed have not been revealed publicly yet. She is under pressure to prove her environmental credentials ahead of the Rio+20 UN climate summit in June.
Greenpeace had previously set up an 'anchor blockade' of the Clipper Hope for over ten days, but had suspended this action while talks in Brasilia took place aimed at cleaning up the pig iron industry. These talks failed as just one representative from the industry appeared, leading to the action today.
The Greenpeace ship 'Rainbow Warrior' is currently in the Amazon on a tour intended to expose forest crimes and to promote a 'Zero Deforestation' petition.
So far over a quarter of a million Brazilians have signed a petition calling for a Zero Deforestation law which would offer full protection for the Amazon. With the President's support this could become law. Greenpeace is calling on President Dilma to listen to the Brazilian people and put Brazil on a path of sustainable development. Only then can he truly be considered a world leader for sustainable development and a President acting on behalf of the people of Brazil.
The new Greenpeace International report "Driving destruction in the Amazon" can be viewed at: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/driving-destruction
James Turner, Greenpeace Communications onboard the Rainbow Warrior: +31 207 122675
Jessica Miller, Greenpeace Communications in Brazil: +55 92 81144517 The Greenpeace International Press hotline: +31 207 182 470
Photo available from Alex Yallop, Greenpeace International: +31 624 94 19 65
Video available from Dannielle Taaffe, Greenpeace International: +31 614 340388