Protesters ‘Block’ Coal Shipments at Newcastle Port

The Australian police arrested 66 activists after they reportedly shut down the operations in Newcastle coal port, the largest bulk shipping port on the east coast of Australia, as part of a protest against fossil fuels.

Around 200 kayaks “symbolically” blocked Newcastle Harbour as part of the protest by about 1,500 people in the morning hours of May 8, according to the country’s police department.

Some suspended by rope from a conveyor belt above a ship at Kooragang Island, while others abseiled from Stockton Bridge at the Port Waratah coal facility and scaled a coal carrier’s mooring lines at Mayfield.

In total, 66 people were arrested, including 57 protesters who occupied a rail bridge at Sandgate, blocking coal trains.

All people who were arrested were granted police bail and are due to appear in Newcastle Local Court on June 9.

The Australian Marine Area Command deployed 20 vessels to control activity on Newcastle Harbour.

“The port of Newcastle continued to operate on the day of the protest,” a spokespesperson with the port said, adding that the they “don’t anticipate that coal export volumes would be impacted.”

The protest, organized by 350.org Australia and Greenpeace among others, is part of a global wave of protests against fossil fuels targeting the world’s most dangerous fossil fuel projects.

The port of Newcastle, one of the world’s largest coal export ports, handled 163.9 million tonnes of trade in 2015, representing a 0.3% decrease in port trade compared with 2014, while coal exports alone comprised 158.1 million tonnes (96.5% of trade).

The largest coal export destinations were Japan (45%), Korea (20%), China (13%) and Taiwan (11%).

World Maritime News Staff, Image Courtesy: 350.org Australia

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