July 16, 2004

Greenpeace ship falls foul of Alaska environmental regs

The Anchorage Daily News reports that the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is being held in Ketchikan where it arrived Monday.

According to the report, Alaska officials say the vessel has broken state environmental regulations for not having a contingency plan for oil discharge prevention and not having obtained a state of Alaska certificate of financial responsibility.

The newspaper quotes Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Lynda Giguere as saying the ship must stay anchored until both requirements are met and that an investigation is being conducted to decide whether a fine will be levied, she said.

According to the Anchorage Daily News report, Arctic Sunrise Captzin Arne Sorensen said he didn't know until the ship was under way that it was missing a response plan and financial responsibility certificate.

"The state has these rules for a good reason, and I think that's fine," Sorenson is quoted as saying. "We simply overlooked something, and we'll comply with it."

According to Greenpeace, the Arctic Sunrise is in Alaska on a mission to protect the Tongass national forest.

Greenpeace is calling for an immediate moratorium on large-scale commercial logging and road construction on federal forests that are under the administration of the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Plans for the ship's Alaska visit include open boat tours described as "an opportunity to learn about the ship and to learn from each other about what we can do to save our public lands from being turned over to the timber industry."

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