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Saturday, 4 March, 2000, 13:52 GMT
Arrests made as GM finally docks
The Iolcos Grace
Greenpeace protestors held up the Iolcos Grace
Four Greenpeace activists have been arrested as a ship carrying genetically modified soya docked in Liverpool.

The three men and a woman were arrested by Merseyside Police after allegedly trying to gain access to the docks.

The Iolcos Grace arrived in Britain from the US a week after Greenpeace members boarded the vessel off Anglesey, north Wales.

The activists, aged between 31 and 44, were from London, Surrey and Buxton in Derbyshire.

A police spokesman said: "We will continue to work closely with the other agencies to ensure the ship's cargo is unloaded without placing anyone at risk."

A Greenpeace spokesman said: "The Greenpeace campaign to prevent imports of GM foods into Britain will continue."

Protest

The ship, heading for Liverpool, was anchored off the coast of Anglesey when the protesters, three men and two women, climbed on board eight days ago.

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 police officers and coastguards, sailed out to the ship to end the stand-off which finished peacefully.

Three men and two women were released on bail until 21 March after being questioned at Caernarfon police station.


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

Greenpeace's Jim Thomas
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.

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

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."

Cargill, which employs about 5,000 people in the UK, acknowledged the vessel was carrying soyabeans, some of which were genetically-modified.

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

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See also:

29 Jan 00 |  Sci/Tech
Deal on GM food
24 Jan 00 |  Business
EU and US set for GM food clash
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