Greenpeace Kalimantan blockade provokes expulsion of illegal log ship

Feature story - February 24, 2004
Greenpeace today assisted the Indonesian Navy to expel an illegal log 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, has been waiting in the Kumai Bay area for ten days, but has been prevented from loading due to the sustained Greenpeace presence. Activists from Greenpeace led the Navy patrol boat to the site.

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.

Greenpeace has evidence the Ha Tinh 06 attempted to illegally load flitches [squared logs] on the 23 rd of February, in contravention of Ministerial Decree (1). The Ha Tinh 06 has been under suspicion of preparing to load an illegal cargo since February the 14th but has now been ordered by the Navy to leave Indonesian waters.

The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior has been patrolling the river mouths of the Lamandau and Kumai rivers, documenting the illegal timber trade. This presence has resulted in an effective blockade, preventing the Ha Tinh 06 loading. Central Kalimantan is notorious for the extent of illegal logging, and the power and violence of the timber mafia.

"We have achieved one significant step here by preventing this vessel from loading for so many days," said Greenpeace campaigner Stephen Campbell, "At considerable personal risk, the crew of the Rainbow Warrior is doing what the government and law enforcement agencies need to do continually."

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.

"Given that this vessel is owned by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, both governments could quickly come to an agreement to stop this from ever happening again through direct negotiations"

The extent of the illegal logging in this region is massive. Greenpeace is 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.

Indonesia played a positive role at the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Kuala Lumpur, agreeing to the inclusion of language on illegal logging.

Note to the editors

(1) Indonesian Ministerial decrees have banned the export of logs from Indonesia due to the illegal logging crisis, and prohibited the loading of logs on foreign flagged ships
Log Export Ban: Minister for Forestry, Decree # 1132/KPTS-11/8.10.2001
Regulation on Timber Shipment: Minister for Forestry, Decree # 22/KPTS-11/22.01.2003

(2) As the UN Convention on protecting the world's rich biodiversity ended last week, but the future for many threatened plants and animals still hangs in the balance. On paper, over 180 Governments have agreed on a global action plan to protect these species, as well as the rights of indigenous peoples. However, no strong commitment has been made to either implement immediately or fund this work. Without funding or a commitment by national governments for implementation, the Convention on Biological Diversity is at risk of becoming a paper tiger.