This is the same oil rig that Greenpeace protesters occupied by boarding the vessel in April. The occupiers came from six countries around the world — Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Austria and the U.S. boarded the rig about 750 miles northwest of Hawaii.
Back in April the group said they intended to stay “as long as it takes for Shell to get our message loud and clear that drilling in the Arctic is entirely unacceptable,” according to the Seattle Times.
Aliyah, Jens, Zoe, Andreas, Miriam and Johno of Greenpeace scaled and occupied the Polar Pioneer oil drilling rig to bring attention to saving the Arctic as pristine wilderness and not just another oil field to be plundered.
The six activists sped beside the rig aboard an inflatable raft, and then casted climbing lines to get aboard. They created a camp with tarps and hammocks on the tiny catwalk under the main deck.
Unfortunately, the activists were forced to leave the protest in April after six days due to reports of seven-metre swells and extreme weather coming their way. Although their occupation is over, Widlund and Buckley Lennox plan to travel to Seattle for the festival of resistance. “I really care about these issues and I want to do whatever I can to keep it going,” Buckley Lennox said in the Times Colonist.
The kayakers have been part of the ongoing protest at every port voicing opposition to oil drilling in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska.
The Shell oil vessels have travelled across the Pacific from Malaysia. While the Greenpeace ship Esperanza docked in Victoria, Washington the Shell vessel was greeted by about three dozen protesters in kayaks in Port Angeles.
The Polar Pioneer was to be off-loaded in Port Angeles, Washington to have equipment installed. The rig then traveled to Seattle for further staging, before it’s expected to head north and begin exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea.
Eric Ross of Shell No Action Coalition says kayakers are training for a “festival of resistance” in Seattle on May 16-18, during which a flotilla of kayaks will gather around the vessel. Greenpeace’s goal with the occupation and demonstrations at every port where the oil rig plans a stay is to spread awareness about offshore drilling in the Arctic, which it says poses an unnecessary risk to the environment.
Pacific Northwest rejects ports as gateway for crude oil exports
Environmental groups in the Pacific Northwest are spearheading a shift in the politics that surround energy production and have mobilized against a series of projects that would transform the region into a gateway for crude oil and coal exports to Asia.
"These proposals have woken a sleeping giant in the Northwest," said Eric de Place, policy director for Sightline Institute, a liberal Seattle think tank. "It has unleashed this very robust opposition movement, “ in USA Today.
In addition, Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien, who joined the so-called kayaktivists on the water Thursday: "Shell's attempt to use Seattle as a home base for Arctic drilling may be the last battle on the front of Arctic drilling, and the energy I have seen and felt from people in the region is really powerful and it gives me hope that we can stop Arctic drilling."
All has not gone well for Shell
Shell's last effort to do exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean also stopped off in Seattle, but the trip for rig ended badly. The Noble Discoverer and the Kulluk was a rig Shell had spent hundreds of millions of dollars to customize became stranded by equipment failures in stormy weather, and the Coast Guard barely rescued the Kulluk's crew. Federal investigations resulted in guilty pleas and fines for rig owner Noble Drilling. The Kulluk ended up on a scrap heap in China.
The fight to save the Arctic from oil drilling is really just beginning as on Monday the federal US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, after taking public comments and reviewing voluminous reports, approved the multiyear oil exploration plan.
If exploratory drilling goes well, unlike the The Kulluk fiasco, Shell intends to invest billions more in infrastructure to open a new oil frontier, building pipelines under the ocean and onto the tundra of Alaska's North Slope, along with roads, air strips and other facilities.
Expect more demonstrations and protests as Shell continues its quest to drill for oil in Alaska, and activists from around the world demonstrate opposition.
Greenpeace Save the Arctic protest
is retired and lives in Clearlake, California. She has three grown
children and one grandson and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services
Administration from St. Mary’s College in Moraga California. On the
home front Dava enjoys time with her family, reading, gardening, cooking