Five Greenpeace activists jumped aboard an offshore supply vessel in the Port on Taranaki, New Zealand on Wednesday, locking themselves to the vessel, protesting against oil exploration in the country.
The activists boarded the the Mermaid Searcher vessel which stopped off to collect essential supplies in New Plymouth. The vessel is used to support the seismic operations carried out by the Amazon Warrior vessel.
According to a Greenpeace Twitter update on Wednesday, four of the five people have been arrested with one of them remaining aboard the vessel.
Update: 4 Activists have been arrested. One remains. #EndOil
— Greenpeace NZ (@GreenpeaceNZ) January 31, 2018
The 2013 Amendment to the Crown Minerals Act makes it an offence to interfere with oil exploration ships at sea.
Greenpeace says the acte was passed under the National Government “without public consultation or a Bill of Rights Act review,” and is “seen as an attempt to stifle peaceful environmental protest against the oil industry.”
Greenpeace climate campaigner, Amanda Larsson, calls the move “outrageous”.
“This is the oil branch of the Government threatening to use the draconian anti-protest laws passed by the last National Government to stop peaceful protest against oil exploration,” she says.
“It’s outrageous that under the new Labour-led Government, which has committed to bold climate leadership, the oil ministry would consider punishing climate activists using this anti-democratic law.”
“It was bad enough that the previous National Government used these laws against climate activists, but the supposedly climate-friendly new Labour Government shouldn’t be threatening climate activists with $50,000 fines and 12 months in jail for protesting the oil industry.”‘
In April last year, Greenpeace activists, including Executive Director Dr Russel Norman, swam in front of the Amazon Warrior, 60 nautical miles off the Wairarapa coast, stopping it from seismic exploration for the day.
“The activists and Greenpeace were charged for the first time in New Zealand history by MBIE under the Anadarko Amendment. They face a year in jail and up to $300,000 in collective fines. They have pleaded Not Guilty and will face trial in April,” Greenpeace said.
Offshore Energy Today Staff