Greenpeace activists ‘arrested’ boarding ship carrying ‘dirty’ palm oil off coast of Spain

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PALM OIL PROTEST: Greenpeace: "We have limited contact with the ship's activists and have asked the captain of the ship to release them." Photo credit: Greenpeace

SIX Greenpeace activists have been detained by the captain after boarding a ship loaded with palm oil in the Gulf of Cadiz off the south coast of Spain.

The environmental group claim that six protestors have been arrested by the Stolt Tenacity ship’s captain and the activists are being held in a cabin. They say he changed the course of the ship that was heading to the Netherlands once it had reached Portuguese waters to return to Spain.

Greenpeace say the palm oil comes from the deforestation of the jungles of Indonesia and the cargo is being conveyed for Wilmar International, the largest palm oil merchant in the world.

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They went on to say the group of activists, from Indonesia, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Canada and the United States, has climbed aboard the ship in a peaceful manner to protest against the destruction of the jungle in Indonesia.

Before being arrested, they displayed banners with messages in English that read: “Save our rainforest”, “Drop dirty palm oil”, “Let’s save our rainforest” and “Let’s leave the dirty palm oil”.

The group say the captain had been previously informed of the peaceful nature of the protest by the crew of the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, which is in the area.

“We have limited contact with the ship’s activists and have asked the captain of the ship to release them so that they can continue to protest peacefully against companies like Wilmar that provide palm oil from the destruction of the rainforests to supermarkets and consumers”, said spokesperson Hannah Martin.

“Palm oil can be produced without destroying rainforests. Nearly one million people around the world are asking the industry to act. Now it’s the turn of Mondelez and other big brands to listen to the clamour and stop buying palm oil until Wilmar does not show that his oil is clean of deforestation,” said Kiki Taufik, spokesperson on board the ship Greenpeace ship Esperanza.

Greenpeace has asked Mondelez to break off relations with Wilmar until he can show that palm oil comes from producers who are not destroying the Indonesian jungle.

“I am from Indonesia. I have seen the devastating impact of deforestation caused by the expansion of palm oil cultivation at the expense of forests and the stifling smoke in the cities from fires caused to clear the jungle. I’m here to send a message to Mondelez: Wilmar palm oil is destroying our homes and we do not want it in our supermarkets, “said Waya Maweru, a climber from Sulawesi, Indonesia, who has participated in the action.

Greenpeace claim that tropical deforestation produces more greenhouse gas emissions per year than the entire European Union, surpassing all countries except the United States and China. In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called for an immediate end to deforestation to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

“Ultimately, Mondelez must ensure that the palm oil he uses comes from producers who are not destroying the rainforests or exploiting human beings,” concluded Miguel Ángel Soto, head of the Greenpeace Forests campaign in Spain.

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