AUSTRALIA

Break Free Protest To Take Fossil Fuel Message To The Seas

08/05/2016 11:07 AM AEST | Updated 08/05/2016 11:12 AM AEST
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Cameron Spencer via Getty Images
NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 30: Tugboat Master John Duncan and other tugboats guide the 'Toro Orient' 225m long ship away from Kooragang Island Coal Terminal and through Newcastle Port on July 30, 2015 in Newcastle, Australia. Newcastle Port is the largest bulk shipping port on the east coast of Australia and the world's largest coal export port by volume handling 4,600 ship movements a year transporting coal, general cargo, dry bulk, bulk liquids and project cargo. The majority of ships are carrying coal exports to the rest of the world and the port is a vital part of Australia's coal industry. Tugboat Master Duncan and his crew are responsible for controlling one of the 13 tugboats that operate in the port. The tugboats are critical to the safe passage of large ships travelling through the harbour and also arriving in port they provide assistance, and manoeuvrability to vessels. The modern tugboats have powerful 5600hp engines and compact stable designs capable of towing fully loaded ships much larger and heavier. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

A national day of action against fossil fuel is underway, with hundreds of protesters at Newcastle calling on the federal government to make the switch to renewable energy.

The organiser of the Break Free event, 350.org, said protesters would kayak into the port of Newcastle in an attempt to stop coal ships from moving through the area.

A flotilla of kayaks is due to occupy the water from 11am. Green's Leader Richard Di Natale is expected to make an address at Horseshoe Beach around midday.

The group said one protester had been arrested after occupying the anchor chain of the coal ship Tangerine Island.

NSW police said 4 people had been arrested so far and that an inflatable boat had been seized.

Protester Laura Hogan said she was taking part in the protest to stop the export of coal.

“The need to act is urgent," she said.

"Today we come together as diverse communities of people to demonstrate real leadership and real action. My actions today are driven by my determination to see an immediate shift to a renewable energy future.”

Australian environmentalists are taking part in the protest as a show of global solidarity against fossil fuels.

Civil disobedience is also planned in the United States, UK, Canada, the Philippines and many other nations.

Last month, Fairfax Media reported police expected more that 400 people to sail in to the port on Sunday and that it was "impossible to hire a kayak between Gosford and Port Stephens" ahead of the event.

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