Greenpeace barred from Indonesia

In Asia, Governments & Politics, News Headlines, Protests & Campaigns

Global environmental pressure group Greenpeace said Thursday its Rainbow Warrior flagship had been denied access to Indonesian waters to load supplies.

The ship, which is on a two-and-a-half month voyage across Southeast Asia to promote awareness of climate change, had been due to enter Indonesia on Wednesday last week and stay for around a month, but was turned away.

“Our supplies have been running out. We tried since yesterday. We need to get a quick response, otherwise we’ll leave immediately to a nearest country,” Greenpeace’s Nur Hidayati said, adding that the vessel is in international waters northeast of the nation’s capital, Jakarta.

“We really regretted the decision. This is not a warship. We actually want to support Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s commitment to protect the environment,” she added.

Yudhoyono has promised to cut Indonesia’s emissions of climate-heating gases by 26 percent by 2020 and by 41 percent with international assistance.

Indonesia is considered the world’s third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, mainly through deforestation, much of which is carried out illegally with the alleged complicity of officials and security forces.

Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah told AFP the ship needed an entry permit even to load logistic supplies, adding that it had been barred due to a lack of clarity over its planned activities.

“They did not give us clear explanation of what they want to do during their presence here. That’s the reason why they cannot get an entry permit,” he said adding that several ministries, including the country’s military, were involved in the decision.

Greenpeace has previously criticised Indonesia for the massive destruction of its forests to make way for palm oil and acacia plantations.

The original Rainbow Warrior was sunk by French agents in a bomb attack in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1985, where it was undergoing a refit amid an ongoing anti-nuclear campaign in the Pacific.

Greenpeace is expected to unveil the third incarnation of the ship next year.

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