Australia's controversial cargo of export uranium left Sydney Harbour on Thursday (23 June), amid further protests by anti-nuclear demonstrators.
Australia's controversial cargo of export uranium left Sydney Harbour on Thursday (23 June), amid further protests by anti-nuclear demonstrators. The British ACT 6 ship, containing some 200 tons of the substance, sailed away after days of angry scenes over Australia's policy of developing uranium reserves.
SYNOPSIS: As the final loading operations got underway, about 20 protestors stood by. Some called on passing motorists for support. But security around the ship was tight.
Squads of police and maritime officials patrolled the dock. One demonstrator managed to get through the cordon on a bicycle, but he was escorted away almost immediately. As a routine precaution, police inspected the hull of the ship every half an hour.
Demonstrators shouted from the shore as the ship started to sail away. One group of protestors congregated on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and hurled paper, rags and a wreath on to the upper container deck. Their cries?of protest were heard over the roar of the engines.
At approximately the same time a lone canoeist paddled off from the north Sydney side and attempted to position himself in the path of the giant container vessel. But the ACT 6 did not change speed and the protestor, still in his canoe,was pushed to the port side by the swell, as his fellow protestors cheered him on.
The canoeist continued to dodge the lines and avoid police for some time, but he later accepted assistance after his boat capsized. That was the last challenge to the vessel. The ship finally left Sydney, taking with it the first cargo of uranium to leave Australia in ten years.
The shipment will go to Britain for refining, then be enriched and converted into fuel rods in the United States before finally being delivered to Japanese power companies.