Greenpeace International activists have carried out the first-ever occupation against deep sea mining as part of a nearly 2-week protest in the Pacific Ocean. With a range of peaceful actions, Greenpeace protested during almost half of The Metals Company’s (TMC) scheduled expedition alongside winning a landmark judgement for peaceful protest.
On Thursday, a Dutch court largely rejected a request by a deep sea mining company to issue an injunction against protest by Greenpeace International, stating that it is “understandable” the organisation has resorted to direct action in the face of the “possibly very serious consequences” of the company’s plans. In this way, the ruling denied TMC’s request to keep activists from being within a 500-metre radius of MV Coco but asked them to disembark it, which they did within 45 minutes after the ruling came in.
Whilst initially welcoming the judgement and highlighting their respect for Greenpeace’s right to peacefully protest, NORI, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TMC, has said they intend to appeal it. They have also opened fire hoses against activists when, in line with the court’s orders, they maintained a presence with two small boats, disrupting the ship’s plans to gather the needed data to issue the first-ever commercial application to mine the oceans.
Activists ended the protest after hanging an 11 metre-long banner on MV Coco with a final demand to ‘Stop Deep Sea Mining’, with boats remaining around the vessel for another 12 hours on 4 December.
Louisa Casson, Greenpeace Stop Deep Sea Mining campaigner on board the Arctic Sunrise said: “This doesn’t end here. The Metals Company publicly claims to respect our right to protest, but not when it’s in the way of what they really care about: profit. Activists should not be the only thing stopping the industry from plundering the seafloor. Governments must listen to the science and the public, and put in place a global moratorium that will keep the last untouched frontier off limits to deep sea mining.
“When the company didn’t get their way in court, they took matters into their own hands and began using high-pressure fire hoses in an attempt to keep our boats away. We weren’t deterred”.
“We are determined to keep bringing this dangerous industry to public attention and its aggressive behaviour won’t stop us from continuing to disrupt its plans until deep sea mining is off the table”.