Protesters board GM crop ship (21/6/2004)

1.Protesters Prevent GM Ship from Docking in Wales
2.Greenpeace boards GM crop ship

1.Protesters Prevent GM Ship from Docking in Wales
By David Stringer, PA News

A giant cargo ship said to be carrying genetically-modified cattle feed was prevented from docking at Rhoose, south Wales, until tonight at least after it was boarded by environmental activists.

Greenpeace protesters last night forced their way aboard the 125,000-tonne Panamanian-registered MV Etoile, one of the world’s largest freighters, moments before it was due to dock.

By prevented a pilot from boarding the vessel they ensured that the ship missed this morning’s high tide, the only time that a vessel of this size can safely enter harbour.

Four campaigners commandeered the ship's ladders and unfurled a banner reading: "Stop GM Imports". They are refusing to leave until the captain agrees to return to America.

It was confirmed this morning that the MV Etoile is anchored off Rhoose, south Wales, and will not be able to attempt to dock again until the evening's high tide at 9pm.

Veteran activist the Rev Malcolm Carroll, 48, said today: "We got onboard just before a pilot was due to arrive to guide the ship into harbour and took control of the two boarding ladders.

"The crew were quite surprised at first and tried to use a water hose on us and threatened to cut the ladders.

"But we were able to communicate with them and they understand this isn't a protest against them.

Greenpeace claims the vessel is carrying GM crops which are produced by US agriculture firm Archer Daniels Midland and intended for use in feed for diary cattle in Britain.

"We won't stop our protests until Britain is entirely GM free. It is the one form of pollution that has shown it can replicate. GM is bonkers and wholly unnecessary," said Mr Carroll. He is one of 28 demonstrators acquitted of theft and criminal damage following an earlier anti-GM protest in 1999.

"Supermarkets like Sainsbury's claim to be GM free but they are duping their customers by selling milk from cows fed on GM crops. It’s GM through the back door.

"If the big supermarkets didn't support the GM industry, we wouldn't have consignments like this coming into Britain."

Mr Carroll, who has now left the ship, confirmed that three protesters remained onboard, while others were standing by in a flotilla of support ships.

It is believed the vessel had set sail from Louisiana, loaded with crops from Archer Daniels Midland.

A company spokesman was last night unable to confirm where the cargo was bound for in the UK.

2.Greenpeace boards GM crop ship
Sam Jones
Monday June 21, 2004
The Guardian

Greenpeace activists last night clambered aboard a ship they claimed was carrying genetically modified maize, to stop it entering Britain.

A flotilla of the group's inflatable boats approached the ship, the Etoile, as it neared Avonmouth docks in Bristol at 6.30pm. Activists hauled up the ship's ladders, so that a pilot could not board the Etoile to guide it into port. But the captain was reported to have kept full control of the French ship, registered in Panama.

The protesters said the Etoile was carrying thousands of tonnes of GM maize for British dairy cattle. They demanded it return to the US immediately. The dairy industry imports hundreds of thousands of tonnes of GM maize and soya for cattle feed every year.

Speaking on his mobile phone from one of the inflatable boats, Greenpeace's Ben Aylisse said: "It's part of a regular shipment that comes into this country from the US every six months. It's what's on board that we're worried about - thousands of tonnes of GM maize that will be fed to cows over here.

"We're happy to stay until the ship goes back to the US."

Greenpeace said the protesters included Reverend Malcolm Carroll, a veteran campaigner and Baptist minister who was among 28 protesters acquitted of theft and criminal damage after an anti-GM rally in 1999.

A spokeswoman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the boarding was a "police matter".

Four years ago, Greenpeace activists boarded a US ship carrying 60,000 tonnes of genetically modified soybeans off Anglesey, north Wales.

Go to a Print friendly Page

Email this Article to a Friend

Back to the Archive