JAKARTA Greenpeace has blocked a tanker
carrying more than 30,000 tonnes of palm oil from leaving an
Indonesian port to protest against forest destruction blamed on
plantations, the environmental group said on Thursday.
The protest came less than three weeks before a U.N.
climate change meeting on the resort island of Bali, where
delegates from 189 countries will debate ways to slow down
global warming, including the impact of dwindling tropical
The group's Rainbow Warrior ship dropped anchor next to the
MT Westama, which was set to leave for India from Dumai in
Sumatra island, one of the Southeast Asian nation's main ports
handling palm oil.
"We will block this as long as we can. We want the
government to immediately issue a moratorium on conversion of
forests and peatlands into palm oil plantations," said Bustar
Maitar, Greenpeace Indonesia Forest Campaigner, who spoke by
telephone from onboard the ship.
Environment groups have blamed palm oil companies for
driving the destruction of Indonesia's forests and peatlands.
In a recent report, Greenpeace said that clearing forests
that often grow on the country's thick carbon-storing peatlands
released more than a billion tonnes of greenhouse gases a year.
The report said the surging demand for palm oil in food,
cosmetics and fuel was putting pressure on a ticking "climate
The palm oil on the MT Westama belongs to Permata Hijau
Sawit, one of the largest exporters of palm oil, the group said
in a statement.
Greenpeace communications officer Tiy Chung said they had
not been told to leave by police or been contacted by the
"The police came and spoke to our captain. But they left
soon after," Chung said by telephone from onboard the ship.
"They were very polite."
(Reporting by Adhityani Arga; Editing by Ed Davies and Bill