Greenpeace activists divert Helsinki-bound coal ship

Greenpeace diverted a Helsinki-bound coal ship on Monday, saying the city should shut down all of its coal plants and pave the way for new forms of energy. (iStock)
Greenpeace diverted a Helsinki-bound coal ship this weekend, saying the city should shut down all of its coal plants and pave the way for new forms of energy. (iStock)
Early Sunday morning the environmental activist group Greenpeace managed to board and get a coal-carrying freighter on its way from St. Petersburg to change its course before arriving to Helsinki harbour.

Early Sunday morning Greenpeace activists approached the Finnish-flagged m/s Alppila freighter in an inflatable boat. One of Greenpeace’s better-known activists, Sini Saarela, managed to climb her way aboard the vessel.

After several hours, the Alppila was able to reach Helsinki at around 2 pm on Sunday. As the massive freighter approached the harbour, Greenpeace activists in kayaks blocked the vessel.

Police detained nine activists who were taken to the Pasila police station for questioning.

After a similar ship-boarding demonstration in Russian waters two years ago, Saarela was charged with hooliganism and sat in a Russian jail cell for months.

Group wants city to stop using coal

Greenpeace said it carried out the action because it wants the city of Helsinki to make a clear decision about how and when the city plans to phase out the use of coal and to shift to renewable energy.

The environmental organisation says it would like to see the city shut down all of its coal plants in order to pave the way for new forms of energy.

Currently coal power provides roughly half of the city’s energy requirments.

Citing a TNS Gallup poll, Greenpeace says that 77 percent of Helsinki residents support a transition to renewable energy.

“The opinion of Helsinki residents is so clear that there is no reason to hesistate,” Greenpeace’s Laura Meller stated in a press release.

“Coal power is not something that belongs in modern cities,” she stated.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  #SavetheArctic… from Greenpeace, Blog by Heather Exner-Pirot

Denmark:  Lego cuts ties with Shell after Greenpeace campaign, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Does Nordea’s divesting of coal shares signal shift in Nordic market?, Yle News

Germany:  New Greenpeace protest against Arctic oil, Barents Observer

Russia:  Russia’s northernmost coal-producing region experiences decline, Barents Observer

Sweden: Greenpeace Swede says Russia should apologise, Radio Sweden

United States:  Soft coal market worldwide leads to Alaska layoffs, uncertainty, Alaska Dispatch News


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