Port of Townsville rejects Greenpeace claims



The Port of Townsville in Queensland, Australia has rejected as nonsense claims by the environmental group Greenpeace that the port is blockading a visit by the protest ship Esperanza.

It said it had not received an application for a berth for the vessel. It said in a statement: “All arrangements previously made by the vessel’s former agent were cancelled when that agent ceased to act for the Esperanza on Monday 28 July 2008.”

It follows recent activity by the environmental group against plans to expand coal exports from Hay Point in Queensland. A statement on Greenpeace’s website said: “This peaceful action at Queensland’s largest coal port highlights the Rudd Government’s plans to rapidly expand coal exports, when the world is trying to cut global emissions. Greenhouse emissions know no borders. Exporting coal will have disastrous impacts for Australia, from drought to the loss of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Greenpeace claimed its activists had set out in inflatables and painted slogans on almost 20 bulk carriers waiting at Hay Point port (near Mackay, Queensland.

Barry Holden, CEO of the port, said: “The Port has not been able to get a response from Greenpeace as to the identity of their new agent or any other information about the visit, despite several requests to Greenpeace over the past two days.”

Townville port said it was a requirement that every vessel must have an agent appointed to manage its affairs whilst in Port. “The Port’s officers have been juggling commercial shipping and cargo handling operations to accommodate the Esperanza and its public ship open day proposed for Saturday; however, this is extremely difficult without communication with the vessel’s agent,” Mr Holden said.