A Russian polar research vessel docked in South Africa’s Cape Town harbour at the weekend as climate protesters raised fears it could be used to help Moscow explore for minerals in protected Antarctica.
The Akademik Aleksandr Karpinskiy icebreaker is on its way to the Antarctic as part of a scientific expedition launched late last year, according to Russian media.
The ship is owned by the Polar Marine Geosurvey Expedition, a subsidiary of the Russian state-owned mineral exploration company RosGeo.
“We believe that exploitation will be happening next,” said Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Jacqui Tooke.
A small group of environmentalists waving placards gathered at the harbour in Cape Town on Sunday chanting “No more fossil fuels, hands off Antarctica! No more war!”
“We saw the ship come into port at 8:41 on Saturday morning,” Extinction Rebellion climate campaigner Cassi Goodman said on Sunday.