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Greenpeace Occupies Cargo Ship With Newsprint for L.A. Papers

Giant metal weight locked to anchor chain to prevent ship from raising anchor
Activists from the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior blockaded a cargo ship Tuesday, October 21, and forced it to anchor, preventing it from unloading rolls of newsprint destined for Los Angeles area newspapers.

Police boarded the ship Thursday, arresting 13 protesters. Four were held by police, booked on "suspicion of trespassing," according to the LA Times.

They staged the action to protest the logging of old-growth temperate rainforest on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Much of the wood chips used to produce this newsprint where supplied by Interfor, one of the main companies logging the Great Bear Rainforest to extinction. The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest unprotected temperate rainforest in the world.

Ancient forest woodchips become newsprint
The activists unfurled a banner reading "Stop Destroying the Great Bear Rainforest" as they boarded the 570 foot-long Thorseggen, said to be carrying over 8,000 tons of newsprint. Four climbers boarded the boat and chained themselves to the unloading cranes to prevent off-loading. On Wednesday, other demonstrators had boarded the ship to relieve the original group of activists.

Four swimmers in survival suits with buoys reading "Save the Ancient Forests" placed themselves in front of the harbor channel entrance to prevent the ship from docking at the Long Beach pier.

Greenpeace forest issues spokesperson Marc Evans said, "Greenpeace has evidence that large quantities of wood chips from ancient coastal rainforests are being sent to the mills which provide this newsprint to California customers -- including The Los Angeles Times, GTE, AT&T and the Orange County Register."

Evans said, "We will continue occupying this ship until companies stop buying products that contribute to the destruction of the ancient forests."

Greenpeace says Interfor, a company that owns 58 logging operations in the coastal temperate rainforest of British Columbia, directly supplies wood fibers to the mill in British Columbia that produces this newsprint. Other companies cutting in this old growth forest include Doman Industries Ltd. doing business as Western Forest Products and West Fraser Timber.

Half of B.C. wood goes to United States
More than half of the wood logged in British Columbia is exported to the United States. "The businesses of the U.S. must not purchase wood obtained from companies destroying the Great Bear Rainforest and must phase out all products that contribute to ancient forest destruction," Evans demanded.

In contrast, the City of Los Angeles, California based Kinkos copying shops, 3M, and large European companies such as B&Q, Europe's largest do-it-yourself chain, and the German retailer house, Otto, have all recently decided not to buy lumber, pulp or paper from ancient forests, Greenpeace says.

"Greenpeace is calling on the logging corporations ... to stop clearcutting the 20 percent of the remaining ancient forests in British Columbia," said Greenpeace Canada forest campaigner Catherine Stewart. "It is time for the forest industry to drastically reform it's forest practices toward a more sustainable and long term solution," Stewart added.

In a related protest the week before on the East Coast, Greenpeace occupied a similar cargo ship in New London, Connecticut on October 12, also carrying wood from Canada's Great Bear Rainforest.

Portions of this article were drawn from a report appearing on the Environment News Service

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Albion Monitor October 26, 1998 (

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