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Rainbow Warrior sailing into town

PUBLISHED: 18:17 03 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:08 03 March 2010

GREENPEACE'S battle ship Rainbow Warrior sails into Ipswich today with a message for those who pollute the seas - "Clean up your act!"

Officials from the environmental protest group backed the Evening Star's campaign for tougher action against those who are blatantly fouling our shores by discharging oil from tankers sailing along the Suffolk coast.

GREENPEACE'S battle ship Rainbow Warrior sails into Ipswich today with a message for those who pollute the seas – "Clean up your act!"

Officials from the environmental protest group backed the Evening Star's campaign for tougher action against those who are blatantly fouling our shores by discharging oil from tankers sailing along the Suffolk coast.

Oil spills and the cleanliness of the sea will be one of the topics on the agenda as Greenpeace invites people aboard the Rainbow Warrior for guided tours.

Ipswich Greenpeace spokesman Dave Fincham said oil spills were a key concern for the group and it had been monitoring carefully the situation in Spain, where the tanker Prestige has broken up and shed its oil, destroying the coast.

"There really seems to be a lack of enforcement where there are oil spills along our coasts, such as the recent one off Suffolk," said Mr Fincham.

"The authorities ought to be able to use chemical analysis on the oil washed ashore to pinpoint which vessel it came from – there are only so many vessels moving in an area at one time and cannot be too many to check."

Helicopters flown by the Maritime Coastguard Agency could not be everywhere at once, even if their flying over the sea was constant, and such patrols could only be preventative action, he added.

Many environmental campaigners have been astonished that maritime enforcement agencies have been unable to track down vessels which wash out their tanks at sea and discharge oil.

Weapons inspectors in Iraq will be able to find the smallest trace of any evidence that Saddam Hussein is making weapons of mass destruction, but apparently polluters can escape without prosecution.

There have been calls for extra enforcement work and for vessels found to be discharging oil to be impounded until their owners pay the costs of the clean-up.

The slick which washed ashore last week left oil all along the Suffolk coast. More than 250 seabirds died and many others – including guillemots and red throated divers – were left contaminated and covered in oil needing urgent help.

Signs on the shore now warn walkers not to venture near the high tide mark.

Greenpeace is calling on the International Maritime Organization to take more action to prevent oil disasters.

The Rainbow Warrior was due to arrive on the high tide this afternoon and will stay in Ipswich for the day tomorrow .

n What do you think of the oil polluters? What should be done to stop tankers ruining our shores? Write to Evening Star letters at 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or email EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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