Environmental activists board deck of ship transporting coal from South Africa to Hadera. Activists are demanding that ship not enter Israel out of protest against building coal-fired power plant in Ashkelon. Naval police succeed in bringing environmental activists to shore
Aviel Magnezi

Greenpeace activists said Thursday that they have taken over a ship en route to Israel with a delivery of coal. The activists were attempting to prevent the ship’s entry to Israel in protest against plans to build a coal-fired power plant in Ashkelon.The naval police removed the three activists who had tied themselves to the ship’s mast and brought them to shore, where they were transferred for investigation.

According to the activists, an Israel Navy boat made contact with them. “They asked that we identify ourselves and a large ship encircled us,” one of the activists said.

In a conversation with Ynet, the activists said that they approached the ship, carrying coal from South Africa to Hadera, in inflatable rubber boats. Using a rope ladder, they boarded the ship.

The activists boarding the ship on Thursday (Photo: Jiri Rezac)

Greenpeace reported that Mor Levy and Joana Jones from Israel and Hans Lau from Germany are barricading themselves on the Orient Venus and are demanding that the ship not enter Israel with its coal shipment.

The three arrived at the ship early in the morning after waiting a few days on the deck of a Greenpeace ship currently in Israel. According to them, they climbed aboard the ship when no one was looking and took over the mast. They hung a huge sign reading “Coal Kills” and announced that they would not leave the ship until the ship return in its tracks.

Mor Levy said, “The Navy made contact with us and asked that we identify ourselves, and a large ship encircled us. They asked us to get off, but we are here in a non-violent action, and we have a goal – to prevent the entry of the coal, which causes global warming and kills.”

According to her, “This is the first action of its kind in Israel. It is a little scary and exciting. We are not violent, and if they come to evacuate us, I hope they won’t use force.”

Nili Grossman, director of Greenpeace Israel’s energy campaign, said before the action: “Coal is an out-dated and dangerous fuel whose real price is very high. We all pay the price of coal use, including health damage, air pollution, and clime change, all of which place a heavy burden on the ordinary citizen. The public pays the real price of coal. We will continue fighting until the complete cancellation of the polluting coal-fired station.”