Seven Greenpeace boats left Greenock this morning to blockade the Trident nuclear submarine at its Scottish base in response to Tony Blair's determination to start building the next generation of British nuclear weapons.
Tony Blair is rushing through a vote in parliament next month to build a replacement for Trident - a new generation of nuclear weapons. The outcome of the vote will have severe implications not just for the UK, but also for the rest of the world.
From: Greenpeace UK
UPDATE: Twenty Ministry of Defense police stormed the ship and smashed their way onto the bridge of the Arctic Sunrise shortly after 5pm following the day-long stand-off. The police cut the anchor chain and towed the ship into the nuclear base. All onboard have been arrested for being in a restricted area.
Listen to the podcast from our campaigners onboard about the police boarding of the ship.
That's why peace campaigners from around the world gathered aboard our flotilla to prevent HMS Vigilant from leaving Faslane naval base. There's been mayhem in the Gareloch while our boats tried to get close to the pontoon that protects the Trident submarine. One person managed to get on to the pontoon; he held up a banner reading NO NEW NUKES before being arrested.
Building new nuclear weapons is against international law, and politically sends a clear message to other countries that they also need them. Not only will it undermine international disarmament treaties, it comes with a massive price tag, diverting funds away from other issues for decades to come.
The government white paper on Trident replacement stated that the new nuclear weapons would cost £15-£20 billion to manufacture, but ignored the running costs. We believe total manufacturing, maintenance and operating costs for a new UK nuclear weapons system will be more like £76 billion.
Greenpeace campaigner Louise Edge, who is onboard the Arctic Sunrise, said: "We're blockading the base because these nuclear arms submarines pose a threat to the security of the world, not least by encouraging other countries to go nuclear in the future. Tony Blair is playing a dangerous game by saying to countries like North Korea that nuclear weapons are necessary for national defence, that the UK doesn't care about its international legal obligations, and that nuclear proliferation is the way forward. He is sending a message to the world that might be welcomed in the capital of North Korea but will be widely condemned by people who want to end nuclear proliferation."
Read our weblog with updates from the scene outside Faslane
The majority of Scots have long been uneasy about the presence of nuclear weapons on their soil, and a new poll released today showed that 78 percent of Gordon Brown's constituents are opposed to Trident renewal, with 45 percent promising not to vote Labour if the plan goes ahead.
They are right to be worried - besides renewing Trident, Blair is also in talks with George Bush to allow bases in the UK to be used as part of his Star Wars system, a policy which can only encourage non-nuclear countries that they need 'the bomb' as protection - leading to a new international arms race.
See photos from the action on Flickr
Or visit our moblog with photos and images sent by mobile phone throughout the day
Opposition is growing around the world at the determination of the US and UK to undermine global security. The UN's nuclear watchdog Mohammed El-Baradei said earlier this week that Britain cannot 'modernise its Trident submarines and then tell everyone else that nuclear weapons are not needed in the future.' He added: 'We need to treat nuclear weapons the way we treat slavery or genocide. There needs to be a taboo over possessing them.'
Take action against Trident
Write to your MP and tell them to vote NO against a new generation of nuclear weapons.