Greenpeace ship headed to Port City
January 11, 2011By JP Finlay
Later this month, Wilmington will welcome a new ship to its downtown port. Only this ship will not sail into town under a military banner, rather the Arctic Sunrise comes to town on a Greenpeace mission. The ship is docking in Wilmington as part of its Coal Free Future Tour and will dock at 88 N. Water St. from Friday Jan. 21 to Sunday Jan. 23. Free tours of the ship will be available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. “It’s really nice to not have a warship coming into port,” said Pat Delair, who is involved with organizing the event.
To commemorate the Artic Sunrise arrival, Greenpeace will host a candlelight vigil at the Progress Energy L.V. Sutton Power Plant from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22. Currently, the plant burns coal to make electricity, however, Progress is in the process of switching to natural gas.
According to Progress Energy spokesperson Drew Elliot, the plant should be coal free by early 2014. Construction is set to begin on the natural gas conversion in the next few months and a groundbreaking is scheduled for the spring.
“It’s a very efficient process. (Greenpeace) is certainly welcome to say their peace. We hope they would take note that we are converting the plant to clean natural gas from coal,” Elliot said. On Friday Jan. 21 Greenpeace will host a concert fundraiser to aid the Stop Titan network at The Soapbox. Representatives from Greenpeace did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.
"Anything that attracts people downtown is good for businesses downtown," said John Hinnant of Wilmington Downtown Inc. "All political statements aside, I think it is good for downtown businesses."