Final four Greenpeace activists leave crow's nest after court order

The last of the Greenpeace protesters last night left their position ten metres up the foremast of the coal freighter they had boarded on the River Medway having been served an injunction by the power company E.On.

The protesters boarded the ship, which was delivering coal to Kingsnorth power station, at approximately 22:50 on Sunday 21 June using high-speed RIBs to come along side the coal-freighter, and waving flags and firing flares to slow the vessel down.

They then used harnesses, pulley blocks and rope ladders to scale the ship’s side.

The protestors split into three groups; four climbed the foremast and took up residence in the crow’s nest, three clambered up the funnel and three more hung over the ship’s side using ropes and harnesses. Other protestors allegedly swam in front of the freighter in an effort to prevent it from docking.

Six of the protestors were arrested earlier on Monday, while the four up the mast remained in a standoff with police on the freighter’s deck. They called off their protest and came down at 18:30 on Monday night, after being served with a court injunction.

Representatives of Kent Police and E.On, the company who own the power station and fighter, have both condemned Greenpeace’s actions.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Beautridge said: ‘This is a working coal-carrying vessel and clearly a dangerous environment for those who haven’t been trained to work in it.’

Emily Highmore, a spokeswoman from E.On, said: ‘We respect their right to protest but what they are doing is irresponsible and wrong, they have not got permission to be on-site.’

Sarah Shoraka, 31, one of the protestors in the crow’s nest told reporters: ‘In the short term, we are trying to keep the ship from reaching the power station – it’s got enough coal to release thousands of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere. In the long term, it’s about stopping the dirtiest power station for 30 years being built in the UK.’

All ten of the protestors are now being questioned by Kent Police and have been charged with conspiring to commit criminal damage and unauthorised presence on a vessel under Section 104 of the Merchant Seaman Act.