The Erskine Bridge was closed today temporarily for just over an hour and half this afternoon as a ship carrying Greenpeace youth activists travelled to COP26.

The activists had been told they were not allowed to travel up the Firth of Clyde due to security restrictions but ignored the restrictions.

As the ship, The Rainbow Warrior, approached Police Scotland and harbour authorities made a request to close the bridge to traffic to allow the vessel to safely sail under it. It was described as the “safest option” to escort the ship to their destination by Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie.

The bridge closed at 2.30pm and was fully reopened again at 4.05pm.

The vessel set off from Liverpool on Saturday night and arrived at the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow around 5pm.

Aboard the ship is Jakapita Faith Kandanga, 24, from Namibia, Farzana Faruk, 22, from Bangladesh, Maria Reyes, 19, from Mexico and Edwin Moses Namakanga, 27, from Uganda. All are from countries hit hardest by the climate crisis.

In a joint statement, the activists said: “The authorities have seen sense and now understand that our presence at the climate summit is too important to shut out.

“It’s ridiculous to think that climate talks could be held without the most affected people there and it’s positive that the police and port authorities have changed their minds.

“World leaders attending the talks could learn a lot from this cooperation. We have been ignored long enough, and now with a safe passage to Glasgow our voices must be heard at COP26.”


Photo: Jakapita Faith Kandanga, 24, from Namibia, left, Farzana Faruk, 22, from Bangladesh, second left, Maria Reyes, 19, from Mexico, second from right, and Edwin Moses Namakanga, 27, from Uganda Image Credits: Suzanne Plunkett / Greenpeace UK

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said: “Harbour authorities had been in regular communication with the Rainbow Warrior and had instructed that, due to the restrictions and some significant safety concerns, it could not sail to its intended destination.

“Despite this, the Captain of the Rainbow Warrior signalled her intent to continue.

“Accordingly, following consultation between police and harbour authorities, it was considered that the safest option for the crew of the Rainbow Warrior and wider public was to ensure the safe passage of the vessel to its destination.

“We are now engaging with Greenpeace and all relevant partners to ensure the safe passage of this vessel, it’s passengers and the wider public.”