Greenpeace Confronts Deep Sea Mining Industry
by Crystal Mojica
April 6, 2021
"Governments must agree on a Global Ocean Treaty in 2021 as a stepping stone towards protecting the ocean until we can reach consensus to ban deep-sea mining permanently."
© Sandy Huffaker Jr. / Greenpea
Clarion Clipperton Zone, Eastern Central Pacific Ocean, 6th April 2021 – For the first time in Greenpeace International history, activists on the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior took action against companies preparing to mine the Pacific Ocean’s seabed. The activists displayed banners reading “Stop Deep Sea Mining” in front of a ship chartered by DeepGreen, one of the companies spearheading the drive to mine the barely explored deep-sea ecosystem.
A separate peaceful protest also took place in California’s Port of San Diego. Greenpeace USA activists displayed a “Stop Deep Sea Mining” banner, targeting the ship chartered by another leading deep-sea mining company, Global Sea Mineral Resources (GSR), from Belgium. This ship carries a pre-prototype mining robot for impact tests this month at depths of over 4,000m on the Pacific Ocean’s international seabed.
Both protests highlight the risks associated with the extractive industry of deep-sea mining and why it must be stopped. The deep ocean is one of Earth’s least understood and least explored ecosystems, which is home to significant biodiversity and acts as a vital carbon sink.
Dr. Sandra Schoettner, deep-sea biologist and oceans campaigner with Greenpeace International, said:
“Scientists have repeatedly warned that deep-sea mining would have terrible consequences for ocean ecosystems we barely understand. With the worsening climate and biodiversity crises facing us, deep-sea mining is a scandalous threat to our oceans’ health. The deep-sea must stay off-limits to mining.”
Victor Pickering, an activist from Fiji currently onboard the Rainbow Warrior, held a banner reading: “Our Pacific, not yours to destroy!” He said:
“The ocean provides food for our families and connects all of us Pacific islands from one island to another. I am taking a stand because our people, our land, are already facing the threats of extreme storms, rising sea levels, plastic pollution, and industrially depleted fish populations. I cannot stay silent and watch another threat – deep-sea mining – take away our future.”
Arlo Hemphill, a senior oceans campaigner with Greenpeace USA, added:
“The US is not a party to UNCLOS (The Law of the Sea) and therefore not eligible for deep-sea mining licenses on its own. Yet international companies use the Port of San Diego and are working with US scientists to advance ocean destruction – something the people of the US never agreed to nor will benefit from.”
Hemphill noted, “governments must agree on a Global Ocean Treaty in 2021 as a stepping stone towards protecting the ocean until we can reach consensus to ban deep-sea mining permanently. A treaty would allow us to protect vulnerable deep-sea habitats on the high seas within ocean sanctuaries, something currently not possible under international law.”
Crystal Mojica; Greenpeace USA: [email protected], 646-530-1581
Sol Gosetti, Media Coordinator for the Protect the Oceans campaign: [email protected], +54 (11) 28313271 WhatsAspp +44 (0) 7380845754
Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)