Greenpeace faces environmental citation

Posted: Friday, July 16, 2004

KETCHIKAN - State environmental officials say the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise broke Alaska law by not filing an oil spill response plan or having a certificate of financial responsibility.

The ship was ordered to anchor until both requirements are met, Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Lynda Giguere said.

An investigation is being conducted to decide whether a fine will be levied, she said.

The Arctic Sunrise is carrying Greenpeace activists through Southeast Alaska to protest logging in the Tongass National Forest. It docked in Ketchikan earlier this week.

The DEC filed its notice of violations on Wednesday.

Under state regulations, a non-tank vessel larger than 400 gross tons needs to file an oil spill response plan application five days prior to entering state waters.

State law also requires a ship the Arctic Sunrise's size to provide, 15 days before entering Alaska waters, insurance information and an application for a certificate of financial responsibility in case of an oil spill.

Arctic Sunrise Capt. Arne Sorensen said he didn't know until the ship was underway that it was missing a response plan and financial responsibility certificate.

"I was told everything was in order and proceeded to get underway, and then I was told the paperwork was not in order," he said.

The DEC and Sorenson were working to file the correct paperwork, at which time the boat could resume its trip up the Inside Passage. That was expected to happen as early as Thursday evening, Giguere said.

The ship was anchored in Howkan on Thursday.

"The state has these rules for a good reason and I think that's fine," Sorenson said. "We simply overlooked something and we'll comply with it."

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