Shipping protests sweep across London

A series of protests across London marked day one of this week’s important International Maritime Organization-led (IMO) Inter-sessional Working Group On Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Environmental campaigns outside IMO headquarters in London are commonplace, but yesterday’s series of rallies, led by Ocean Rebellion, were larger and more widespread.

The protest began just after 9am outside the offices of the IMO. Protesters wearing life jackets sounded the alarm with five short blasts from a sculptural fog horn dinghy before pelting the building with biodegradable water-bombs containing non-toxic fake oil fired from the mouth of a giant deepsea angler fish sculpture made from sea waste and discarded fishing nets.

The protests continued outside the Panama Embassy where the group poured 1,000 litres of plant-based water soluble oil into the road and performers from Apocalypse Theatrics appeared dressed in costumes to represent an oil slick. The group then cleared the oil away with the message “WE CLEAR UP OUR OILY MESS AND SO SHOULD YOU” referencing the Wakashio shipping disaster in Mauritius that the government of Panama has been criticised for not doing enough to help in the clean up despite the vessel being under the country’s flag.

The demonstration then continued into the evening when the group Ocean Rebellion projected slogans and data onto the Japanese Embassy highlighting the country’s “complicity in the lack of legislation to protect the environment”, a statement from the group claimed.

A spokesperson for the group said: “Our demand is simple: Get ships off fossil fuels, to prevent repeated negligent fossil fuel spills, protect people’s livelihoods, protect precious marine environments, and to protect our climate from fossil-fuelled breakdown.”

Splash will be bringing readers key news from this week’s IMO gathering on Friday.

Ocean Rebellion

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. I wonder how many of the protesters walked or cycled to their protests and how many used cars or vans to pull off their stunts. There is hypocrisy of a high order in all of this. Shipping seems to be being targeted unduly. Power generation, cars, trucks and aircraft contribute a whole lot more

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