Polish border guards board Greenpeace ship, end coal protest

WNM | Sep 10, 2019 at 4:49 PM

Armed Polish border guards towed the Greenpeace ship "Rainbow Warrior" out of the port of Gdansk on the night of Tuesday. The ship was to protest against the Polish coal industry. 

Warsaw, 10 September (AFP) - The "Rainbow Warrior" had prevented the unloading of coal in the port, according to the environmental organisation. A spokeswoman of the border police confirmed the nightly operation by a special unit. Two of the 18 crew members, the captain and an activist, were arrested.

The other inmates were released after their identity had been verified. They went back on board the "Rainbow Warrior". The ship is now anchored in front of the port entrance and is not being detained by the authorities, explained another spokesman for the border police.

"We arrested the captain, a Spanish citizen, and an Austrian activist for violating the shipping rules and towed the ship out of the port where it had no permission to anchor," the spokesman said. The border guards "forcibly" gained access to the ship after their request to be allowed on board was repeatedly ignored.

Greenpeace writes in a statement:

On Monday, September 9, before midnight, masked border guards with machine guns stormed into the Rainbow Warrior sailing ship that was taking part in a peaceful protest at the coal port in Gdansk. They threatened with weapons, smashed the window and got on the bridge. Greenpeace activists and activists who had previously blocked coal transport from Mozambique were detained. By their protests, climate defenders called on the Polish government to protect the climate and to move Poland away from coal by 2030. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, taken on a key issue for the safety of Polish women and Poles, the state services took radical actions that were inadequate to the situation.

We would like the Polish authorities to act as quickly and decisively in the climate crisis as they do by suppressing peaceful protests. Climate defenders drew attention to the absurdities of Poland's energy policy. In the name of defending the interests of the coal lobby, our government does not protect the climate and does not invest in Polish renewable energy sources. Instead of building windmills or biogas plants, we import "Polish black gold", mainly from Russia, but also from countries as distant as Australia, Colombia or Mozambique. Those who have the courage to oppose such a policy are threatened with machine guns - said Marek Józefiak, coordinator of the Climate and Energy campaign in Greenpeace Polska.

In order for the climate crisis not to turn into a catastrophe, Poland, like other European Union countries, must move away from coal by 2030, and within the next decade from other fossil fuels - gas and oil. As expert analyzes indicate, if Poland does not switch to renewable energy, coal imports to Poland will increase, weakening the country's energy security