GREENPEACE activists today (31 January) boarded supply vessel Mermaid Searcher at New Zealand’s Port Taranaki, chaining themselves to the vessel’s mast and rails.
The Mermaid Searcher is at the port to collect supplies for the Amazon Warrior, a survey vessel that is carrying out a seismic survey off the coast in a search for hydrocarbons.
Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper confirmed protesters had entered the Port’s operations area on the morning of 31 January.
He said the protesters had been issued with trespass notices.
He said while he supported the right to peaceful protest, he did not condone the action taken by the protesters that put the safety of themselves, the ship’s crew, port staff, contractors and the public at risk.
“The operations area of Port Taranaki is a hazardous environment and health and safety is paramount; we are concerned for the welfare of all the people affected by this action, including the protestors.” he said.
“There is forecast bad weather approaching therefore disembarking them from the vessel quickly and safely is our focus and we are supporting the police to achieve this.”
Mr Roper said the port operations area remained open for business.
Greenpeace climate campaigner Amanda Larsson said by stopping the resupply vessel the protesters were aiming to impact the Amazon Warrior’s search for oil and gas.
She said the survey vessel had been sending seismic blasts into the seabed, with impacts on blue whales in the area likely to be “torturous”, interfering with their communication and feeding.
“As well as the harmful impacts on marine life, we can’t actually afford to burn most of the fossil fuel reserves we already know about if we’re to have a chance at stabilising our climate,” she said.