Ten Greenpeace volunteers were arrested in Gibraltar this morning (8.30am local time) following a demonstration against the British nuclear submarine HMS Tireless, currently anchored in Gibraltar harbour. The demonstration involved twenty volunteers from Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy and Andorra. The protest was to demand the elimination of nuclear reactors and arms from the oceans.
The volunteers used four inflatable boats to reach the submarine and hold up a banner calling for "Nuclear Free Seas". Two volunteers boarded the submarine and were immediately arrested. Eight other volunteers were arrested and two Greenpeace inflatables seized by military police. The volunteers are currently being held in Gibraltar, but have not yet been charged with any offence.
The British submarine has languished in Gibraltar for eight months, since it suffered damage to its nuclear reactor system. The Royal Navy last week announced its intention to start the repairs of the submarine on 22nd January.
Greenpeace Director of Operations Doug Parr said, "While nuclear powered submarines continue to rove around the globe, this kind of accident will continue to happen."
He continued "Repairs on Tireless should not begin until a full safety report has been issued and evaluated. Whatever decision the UK Government takes, it must be based upon minimising risks to human and environmental safety".
Last weekend, Greenpeace revealed that two other nuclear capable and nuclear-powered vessels have suffered serious accidents when anchored in Gibraltar. Both the support vessel HMS Hebe and the nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror suffered fires onboard in 1978 and 1988 respectively. The fires did not affect any nuclear materials.
On 6 December 2000, Greenpeace prevented the anchoring in Palma de Mallorca of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS "George Washington" for seven hours. The ship was forced to leave Mallorca 24 hours ahead of its published plans.
Greenpeace press office - 020 7865 8255.