Two Greenpeace activists who boarded yesterday K Line’s ship carrying about 500 Volkswagen diesel cars to the UK have been arrested, Greenpeace UK informed.
Furthermore, two other activists spent the night on a gantry crane in Sheerness port in Kent, with 1,000 car keys of diesel cars they confiscated once they gained access to the vehicle park at the port.
As informed, Greenpeace volunteers scaled the fence of the import park and immobilised thousands of VW diesel cars by removing the keys.
A third Greenpeace activist was also arrested by police.
“Two of our climbers have been arrested after blocking this VW toxic cargo for hours, but another team are still immobilising thousands of VW diesels at the port,” Areeba Hamid, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, said, adding the organization would keep putting pressure on VW until it takes responsibility for “its role in our air pollution crisis and ditches dirty diesel for good.”
In statements released to the media, VW said the ship contains 1,200 of their vehicles, including 500 diesel cars and just 37 hybrids. They said the diesel vehicles on the ship meet strict Euro-6 standards.
“VW cannot keep hiding behind standards that have been widely discredited. Independent tests have shown that new Euro-6 diesels pollute on average over six times more than what shows up in the official tests. These polluting cars are not the solution – they are just adding to an air pollution health crisis that’s taking a heavy toll on many people, especially children. The pitiful number of hybrid cars on the ship clearly show what VW’s priorities are,” Hamid pointed out.
The ship was blocked from entering its destination port where it was supposed to unload the vehicles.
“We can confirm that Greenpeace protesters have illegally entered secure areas of the Port of Sheerness. These areas are restricted to ensure that UK border security is preserved and we protect the safety of our customers and employees working on the Port.
“We are working with the police, Greenpeace, and Volkswagen to resolve the situation. The safety of the protesters and employees, whilst safeguarding the marine environment, remains our principal priority,” a Peel Ports spokesperson said on Thursday.
As a result of the protest, K Line’s ship, Elbe Highway, moved further out in the channel and was last reported to be off Margate.
However, based on the ship’s latest AIS data, it seems that it has turned around and is heading toward Emden in Germany, data from Marine Traffic shows.
The 2,200 ceu ship, built in 2005, is owned by K Line European Sea Highway Services (KESS).
The protest is taking place within the environmental organization’s DitchDiesel campaign.
World Maritime News Staff