Congo timber ship blocked

Posted by jamie — 6 July 2007 at 3:16pm - Comments

Greenpeace volunteers climb a crane at La Rochelle port in France

Right now, a group of Greenpeace climbers are perched on top of a set of cranes in the port of La Rochelle on the French Atlantic coast. They've been there since Wednesday night and as well as admiring a no-doubt magnificent view, they're also preventing a ship unloading its cargo of timber which has come from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Greenpeace volunteers hang a banner from a crane at La Rochelle port in FranceThe company logging the timber, Lebanese-owned Trans-M (another snappy corporate name!), has been given titles spanning 746,000 hectares of the DRC forest but this is in breach of the logging moratorium set up in 2002. Supposedly, no new contracts are to be issued and existing ones aren't to be renewed or extended, but somehow Trans-M have managed to set up shop and ship rainforest timber back to Europe.

The current blockade is only the latest action our continental offices have taken to prevent Congolese timber coming into the EU. Over the past few weeks, imports of DRC timber were stopped in by volunteers in both Antwerp in Belgium (the link isn't in English, but there is a subtitled video and a great slideshow) and Salerno in Italy - it's demand for tropical timber in Europe and around the world drive the destruction of the forest in Africa.

As for those climbers, they've been up there for over 40 hours and counting. At least it looks like they're enjoying better weather than we are.

Update: After 45 hours on the crane, the climbers have returned to Earth after being forced down.

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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