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Greenpeace seizes 'stolen' Papua New Guinea logs

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UMUDA ISLAND, PNG (Pasifik Nius): Greenpeace today stopped the export of illegally and destructively logged timber from the Kiunga Aiambak logging project to China by preventing the loading of logs at Umuda Island, reports a Greenpeace statement.

Climbers from the Greenpeace vessel, the MV Arctic Sunrise are blocking the crane of the log ship, the Hua Yang. Volunteers are also occupying the log barge and have hung a banner reading "Ancient Forest Crime".

"We are taking this action at the request of landowners in the Kiunga- Aiambak area. There has been a lot of talk about the need to close this project down from politicians, academics and others, most recently at a roundtable discussion aboard the Arctic Sunrise. Now it is time for action," says Greenpeace campaigner Bianca Havas.

Last month, Lake Murray Resource Owners Association president Sep Galeva visited Port Moresby to ask the government to stop all logging operations in the area. Most of the logs are exported to China, Japan and Korea, where they are used to make furniture, flooring and cheap plywood.

Landowners say this logging is causing them social and economic hardship. A series of politicians and bureaucrats have helped the logging company, Concord Pacific, to operate illegally. The road Concord Pacific is claiming to build in the name of “development” is already impassable in many places.

"The Government should seize the assets of Concord Pacific in order to reimburse landowners for their losses; reject any application to extend the project; investigate and prosecute those involved in the scandal, and permanently revoke Concord Pacific’s status as a 'Forest Industries Participant'," said Greenpeace forests specialist Brian Brunton.

"Our action is also an appeal to governments to commit to stopping this type of destructive logging in the lead-up to the Johannesburg Earth Summit in August," Brunton said.

Greenpeace wants governments to prohibit the importation of Concord Pacific’s products; demand all wood and wood products entering national ports come from legal and well managed forest operations conforming to Forest Stewardship Council standards (1); and provide money to pay for forest conservation and sustainable development in countries such as Papua New Guinea.

Today’s action follows anti-logging activity in Hong Kong last week. Greenpeace China volunteers served a symbolic “injunction” on Chinese company Lei Sing Hong, asking it to stop importing logs from Concord Pacific.

For more information contact: Brian Brunton, Greenpeace Forests Specialist on 693 0390, Bianca Havas, forests campaigner aboard the MV Arctic Sunrise on ++872 130 2577 (satellite costs apply) Samantha Magick, communications officer on 693 0391. Olivia Bradley for images and video on ++612 9263 0350 or email { HYPERLINK }

Note to editors: (1) The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the only independent certification system that meets international ecological standards, incorporates the interests of social, economic and environmental groups, and has a widely recognised label. This system assures the chain of custody from the extraction of wood, through processing to the final consumer. Unless independently certified at least according to ecological standards of the FSC, it is not possible to guarantee that logging practices are legal and do not lead to ancient forest destruction.


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