Environmental Activists Block Cunard Cruise Ship with Kayaks at Hernesaari Port in Helsinki

September 25: A group of approximately nine environmental activists in kayaks have blocked the departure of a Cunard cruise ship from the Port of Helsinki‘s Hernessari harbour.

The Extinction Rebellion Finland group says the Queen Elizabeth is “an extremely polluting luxury cruise ship”, and they want the city to block polluters such as this one from coming into Finnish waters.

The Queen Elizabeth was scheduled to depart from Helsinki going to St. Petersburg at 17:00 but was delayed for about an hour.

Drone footage uploaded to the Extinction Rebellion Finland Facebook page showed around nine kayakers paddling very close to the bow of the ship. Activists say they informed the crew of the actions.

“This is the first time in my history, and I’ve been here a long time, that this has happened” says Eeva Hietanen from the Port of Helsinki.

“Police took the activists away” she confirms to News Now Finland.

Port authorities were not notified in advance of the protest action, although they suspect a local newspaper was tipped off, as a photographer was waiting for the kayak protest to begin.

Two other departing cruise ships were delayed slightly while Extinction Rebellion’s kayak protest was taking place.

On its website the Port of Helsinki says that all the harbours have environmental permits in accordance with Finnish law and they regulate such matters as noise and emissions from ships that come into port, as well as waste management.

Cruise ships have long been critized as polluters, not just from the fuel they burn during sailing, but also from sulphur, NO2 gas, and particulate emissions.

The Queen Elizabeth was launched in 2010 and can carry up to 2092 passengers. The ship is currently on a 14 day Baltic Sea cruise which left from Southampton in England last Friday. Its first port of call was Warnemunde in German before arriving in Helsinki on Wednesday morning. The Queen Elizabeth has two days in St. Petersburg, then visits Tallinn, Riga and Copenhagen before returning to Southampton on Friday 4th October.

Source: News Now Finland

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