Greenpeace stops Indonesian palm kernel shipment

September 16th, 2009 - 7:29 am ICT by IANS  

Wellington, Sep 16 (DPA) Activists from the international environmental organization Greenpeace boarded a ship carrying palm kernel animal feed from Indonesia on Wednesday off the New Zealand coast and called on the government to ban the cargo.
They locked themselves to the ship, East Ambition, its anchor chain and four cargo cranes, and vowed to prevent the cargo from being unloaded at Tauranga, its destination port on the east coast of the North Island.

Greenpeace climate campaigner Simon Boxer said that millions of hectares of Indonesian and Malaysian rainforest were being destroyed to grow palms for their oil and palm kernel extract (PKE), a byproduct used as a supplement animal feed.

The organization said that the PKE on the ship was being imported by the Fonterra dairy co-operative, the world’s largest exporter of milk powders, butter and cheese. It said New Zealand imported 1.1 million tonnes of PKE last year, one quarter of the world’s production.

A Greenpeace statement quoted Jo McVeagh, one of the 12 activists locked onto the ship, several kilometres off Tauranga, as saying, “Fonterra’s involvement in rainforest destruction and the massive climate impact this causes is criminal.”

Boxer said, “Fonterra’s intensification of the dairy industry is fuelling rainforest destruction, increasing greenhouse-gas emissions here and abroad, putting pressure on the health of our land and threatening our clean, green reputation.”

It was a peaceful protest, he told Radio New Zealand, and the crew and port authorities had been told it was intended to stop the ship unloading its cargo on Wednesday.

Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns told the New Zealand Press Association that police were on their way to arrest the protesters, and they would not prevent the ship from being unloaded.

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