Finally setting sail for Townsville

31 July 2008

We’ve been anchored off Mackay for 3 days now, because late in the day after our coal ship painting protest we were notified by the Townsville Port Authority about 'security concerns', and other issues, that would have prevented us from docking at the port. Initially, there was a requirement that we would be required to pay an additional $13,000 per day in security. It seemed that coal mining companies, who are customers of the Port, believed we were a raised security risk. Greenpeace is funded by public donation and we had no intention of spending our donors’ money on 'over-the-top' security charges. We made this clear to both the Port Authority and the local Townsville media yesterday afternoon. During the course of the day, the CEO of the Port Authority and Greenpeace have continued to have a constructive dialogue, and we are happy to say that common sense has prevailed. We will not be required to pay any additional security charges other than those that were already in place, in order to allow the public access to the Port to visit the ship. So we have finally set sail for Townsville and are due to arrive tomorrow morning. We’ll be keeping our berth for the open day on Saturday, but the rest of the time we will anchor off Magnetic Island. From the initial over-reaction, it’s great that the Port Authority have recognised that we’re not in fact a threat to security and have in the end welcomed us into the port. We’re looking forward to meeting the 500 or so local residents we’re expecting to see on Saturday.