Activists arrested after boarding ship
Greenpeace protest designed to draw attention to phasing out coal-fired plants
August 31, 2007
NANTICOKE, ONT. -- Three Greenpeace activists were arrested yesterday and charged with mischief after they boarded an ore carrier hauling coal across Lake Erie to a power plant in Ontario.
Five activists initially boarded the Algomarine in a bid to delay delivery of nearly 30,000 tonnes of coal to the Nanticoke power plant and draw attention to the issue of global warming, said Greenpeace spokeswoman Joslyn Higginson.
"Our objective over all is to bring attention to the coal issue, particularly the phase-out issue in the election campaign and to bring attention to clean energy options in the upcoming election," Ms. Higginson said.
"We're going to stay until we're satisfied that we've done that."
She said a police boat arrived shortly after activists Dominique Du Sablon, 20, of Toronto, and Charlie Latimer, 25, of Vancouver, chained themselves to the discharge boom, a sort of conveyor belt that's used to unload coal.
A third activist, Emily-Elizabeth Storey, 22, of Toronto, suspended herself from the vessel's stern, where she dangled precariously close to the rudder and made movement of the ship impossible.
The three were eventually cut down and hauled away by police to Cayuga, where they were each charged with two counts of mischief, Ms. Higginson said.
Ontario police Constable Paula Wright confirmed there was a large police presence at the scene and that three people were arrested, although she said the charges were still being sorted out.
The activists arrived at the vessel aboard an inflatable craft launched from the 50-metre Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, a former icebreaker, that later blocked the coal ship's entry into Nanticoke.
Ms. Higginson said the captain of the Arctic Sunrise was issued an order under the federal Marine Transportation Security Act shortly after 4 p.m. to leave the area and dock elsewhere.
The dispute was still going on late yesterday Ms. Higginson said.
Allister Paterson of Seaway Marine Transport, which manages the Algomarine for Algoma Central Corp., said the actions of the protesters put them all in serious danger.
"You'd have to have a death wish, I think, to do something like that," Mr. Paterson said.
He said he can't understand how the protesters even managed to board the Algomarine.
"The ship is 700-plus feet long and they're very high. It's an athletic feat to climb. There's no set of stairs. It's exceptionally dangerous, because if you fall and you go under, you're dead."
Ontario Power Generation spokesman John Earl said the plant notified police, increased security and warned the community in anticipation of the protest.
"Of course our concern is that we want to ensure the safe reliable operation of our station - safe for our staff, safe for the community around the station and safe for Ontario consumers so that electricity supply isn't threatened."
The Nanticoke station is one of four coal-fired electricity plants in Ontario that the Liberal government had promised to shut down by this year - a deadline that was later extended to 2014.
Green Party Leader Frank de Jong applauded Greenpeace's actions, saying the Liberal and NDP plan to phase out coal by 2014 isn't good enough.
The Greens have promised to phase out coal entirely by 2009.
Ontario's Progressive Conservatives have said that, if elected, they would make coal plants cleaner rather than shut them down, and have vowed to cut greenhouse-gas emissions to 10 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020.
11 years ago