Early Sunday morning (Nov 01) Greenpeace activists approached the Finnish-flagged m/s Alppila freighter in an inflatable boat. One of Greenpeace's better-known activists, Sini Saarela, managed to climb her way aboard the vessel.

Greenpeace activists divert Helsinki-bound coal ship

Image: Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva

After several hours, the Alppila was able to reach Helsinki at around 2 pm local time on the same day. As the massive freighter approached the harbour, Greenpeace activists in kayaks blocked the vessel.

Police detained nine activists who were taken to the Pasila police station for questioning.

After a similar ship-boarding demonstration in Russian waters two years ago, Saarela was charged with hooliganism and sat in a Russian jail cell for months.

Greenpeace said it carried out the action because it wants the city of Helsinki to make a clear decision about how and when the city plans to phase out the use of coal and to shift to renewable energy.

The environmental organisation says it would like to see the city shut down all of its coal plants in order to pave the way for new forms of energy.

Currently coal power provides roughly half of the city's energy requirements. Citing a TNS Gallup poll, Greenpeace says that 77 percent of Helsinki residents support a transition to renewable energy.

"The opinion of Helsinki residents is so clear that there is no reason to hesitate," Greenpeace's Laura Meller stated in a press release.

"Coal power is not something that belongs in modern cities," she stated.

Source: yle.fi