Greenpeace confronts Liberian timber shipment to Greece

Greek government says it will take steps against ancient forest destruction

Feature story - 15 April, 2002
The Greek government made promises to take action against forest destruction today, after Greenpeace activists boarded a vessel carrying timber from the last of Liberia's ancient forests.

Greenpeace activists board vessel 'MV Zini' in Corinth to protest destruction of Liberia's ancient forests.

Greek, German and Swiss activitsts boarded the vessel MV Zini in the port of Kalamaki today. The vessel was there to unload logs which it had picked up at the Liberian port of Buchanan. That port is largely controlled by the logging company Oriental Timber Company (OTC).

OTC is run by a close business associate of the President of Liberia, who has granted the logging rights to at least one third of Liberia´s remaining 4.8 million hectares of ancient forest to the company. Liberia's forests contain tremendous biodiversity, but its timber industry is fuelling both environmental destruction and human rights abuses.

The Greenpeace activists dressed in costumes of the same animals that are being wiped out around the world through the destruction of ancient forests. As Greenpeace forests campaigner Filip Verbelen said from the Ancient Forests Summit in the Hague, "The Great Apes are threatened with extinction and these governments do nothing, when positive decisions are urgently needed here and now."

In reaction to the Greenpeace action, the Greek ministry of environment today joined other European nations in committing itself to keep a very clear and strong position for the protection and sustainable management of the last ancient forests of the world.

More information:

Liberian timber trade fuels regional insecurity (Greenpeace report)