The Queensland Resource Council has slammed Greenpeace after a group of activists boarded a stationary coal ship in the Coral Sea early this morning.
Six Greenpeace activists boarded the ship in protest of Australia’s coal mining industry.
Speaking to the Guardian from on board the ship, 34-year-old Greenpeace activist Emma Giles said:
"We've taken the action today because Australia is on track to almost double its coal exports in the next decade. Both major political parties have no solutions on the table. It is time to slow down the coal boom.
"Our leaders are failing us so it's up to us to take civil disobedience and to slow down and stop these coal ships. We are set to stay here as long as it takes."
However, Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has called the protest by Greenpeace ‘pointless’.
“It’s difficult to understand exactly what the crew of Rainbow Warrior 3 was trying to achieve, but it is clear from real-time vessel tracking images that Greenpeace was laying in wait for its photo opportunity,” QRC chief Michael Roche said.
“While we will leave it to the authorities to determine the legal status of this stunt, Queensland’s largest export industry did not skip a beat, continuing the economic activity that most people acknowledge carried the country through the GFC.
“Every tactic in the anti-coal playbook is being played out with the sole intent of closing down Queensland’s leading income earner, worth $24 billion to the state last year.”
CEO of the Australian Coal Association, Dr Nikki Williams said the stunt was irresponsible.
“Today’s stunt was irresponsible and dangerous with activists endangering commercial shipping, the crew and their own people. If there is an accident on the Great Barrier Reef, it’s this reckless behaviour that will bring it on,” Williams said.
“This is an ideologically driven campaign to stop economic development that will devastate communities across Australia.”
As Australian Mining reported earlier this month, Greenpeace did not rule out partaking in acts of civil disobedience as it prepared to protest against Queensland’s coal industry with their ship Rainbow Warrior.
"As far as civil disobedience, it's a part of what Greenpeace does,” Greenpeace community campaigner Louise Matthiesson said at the time.
A spokesman for Greenpeace on the Rainbow Warrior said today:
"We are calling on the rest of Australia to take whatever action is possible to ensure that we do not double our coal exports. We cannot deal with the climate change that will result from that."
Greenpeace say the coal export expansion planned in Queensland will further threaten the Great Barrier Reef.