Friday, October 28, 2011

Customs confirms breach by Greenpeace

THE Customs Department has confirmed that the Greenpeace vessel, mv Esperanza, breached clearance conditions when it sailed to Pomio, in East New Britain, last Sunday, The National reports.
Greenpeace, which has lost its charitable status in New Zealand after a lengthy investigation, faces a fine of between K500 and K25,000 under section 25 of the Customs Act.
The department's trade and compliance director, Wesley Bulumaris, said the vessel was cleared to enter Papua New Guinea waters but was to sail directly to Port Moresby.
"We have now come to learn through the media that the vessel sailed to Pomio rather than Port Moresby and is currently on anchorage since Sunday, Monday, Tuesday," he said in a letter yesterday to lawyers acting for landowners in Pomio who are opposed to the Greenpeace's publicity stunts and other activities.
A copy of the letter was made available to The National by MS Wagambie Lawyers.
Bulumaris said the captain's action was in breach of the conditions and punishable under the Act.
"Investigation will be carried out to establish the facts for any action to be taken," he said.
Esperanza has since left Pomio and was believed to be heading to Port Moresby with a few landowners to seek political support to stop the special agriculture business leases. A Post-Courier reporter is believed to be on board the vessel.
FM 100 radio reported yesterday that Greenpeace had abandoned its activities in Pomio following protests from landowners who support the oil palm project which is expected to provide jobs, security and infrastructure, royalties and other benefits.
On Monday, lawyers acting for Rimbunan Hijau (PNG) Group served notice on Post-Courier to publish an apology over a report on the same day or face legal action.
The Monday report, headlined "Pro-loggers tell visitors to get out", stated that RH was still operating in Pomio despite a stop-work order and was in contempt of court.
Warner Shand Lawyers said no such court order was in place and that the report was malicious.
This would not be the first time that Greenpeace had broken laws to achieve its goals.
Last year, its Rainbow Warrior was escorted out of Indonesian waters after the local authorities discovered discrepancies in the papers submitted by the ship's agent and Greenpeace campaigners.

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