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BBC Wales's Claire Summers
"The ship's exact whereabouts are not known"
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BBC Wales's Roger Pinney
"Protests against the importation of GM products will continue"
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Sunday, 27 February, 2000, 17:23 GMT
GM protest ship 'will dock'
Greenpeace activists board the Iolcos Grace
The Iolcos Grace will unload her cargo, say the owners
A ship boarded by Greenpeace in a protest over genetically-modified food has headed back out to sea without unloading her cargo.

But the owners of the 60,000 tonnes of GM soya on board - agri-giants Cargills - say the ship will return and dock once the tides are right.

The ship, which was originally heading for Liverpool, was anchored off the coast of Anglesey when the protesters, three men and two women, climbed on board on Friday morning.

Greenpeace has exposed the hidden route through which GM is being smuggled into our food chain

Greenpeace's Jim Thomas
They boarded the bulk carrier Iolcos Grace in protest at her cargo of GM soya.

Three activists barricaded themselves inside the anchor chamber and two more were on deck.

A banner was strung up on the ship's bow reading: "Europe says no to GM".

But late on Friday night, 10 police officers with inflatable dinghies, together with coastguards, sailed out to the ship to end the stand-off which finished peacefully.

Greenpeace protestor climbing aboard the Iolcos Grace
The protesters scaled the hull
Three men and two women - named as Richard Watson, 35, Al Baker, 35, Andy Broadley, 29, Kate Davison, 29, and Amber Whitehouse, 24 - were questioned at Caernarfon police station before beoing released on bail until 21 March.

Greenpeace campaigner Louise Edge said the five had been advised they could be charged with hijacking a ship.

Greenpeace said the protesters had planned to stay on board until the ship, which is carrying 60,000 tonnes of soya, returned to the US.

It has asked Environment Minister Michael Meacher to stop any further imports of GM crops for animal feed.

Human consumption

Campaigner Jim Thomas said: "Greenpeace has exposed the hidden route through which GM is being smuggled into our food chain.

"The GM soya will mostly be used for animal feed which will end up in meat and dairy products for human consumption."

The boat was anchored just off Anglesey, north Wales
Cargill, which employs about 5,000 people in the UK, acknowledged the vessel was carrying soyabeans, some of which were genetically-modified.

A spokesman said: "We were surprised and disappointed by the Greenpeace action because as a matter of principle we work extensively with our customers to help them respond to changing consumer requirements in the marketplace."

Cargill spokeswoman Geraldine O'Shea said the ship would definitely continue its journey to Liverpool. But it may not be able to dock for several days until the tide is high enough, she added.

The firm has customers waiting for the delivery of the cargo, and the Greenpeace protest would not prevent that, said Ms O'Shea.

She refused to give the exact whereabouts of the ship, saying just that it had headed west.

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Protests at GM food talks
24 Jan 00 |  Business
EU and US set for GM food clash
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