Environmental activists have put a halt to Shell’s offshore Arctic exploratory drilling, by abseiling off an Oregon Bridge.
The activists from Greenpeace, have abseiled off the St Johns bridge in Portland in an attempt to block Shell’s 380 foot Fennica icebreaking vessel from leaving port.
The Fennica headed into a Portland dry dock on Saturday 25th, to get repairs to a meter long gash to its hull that was sustained earlier this month whilst on operations around the Aleutian Islands, near Dutch Harbour, Alaska.
Greenpeace have said that 13 of its activists have taken to abseiling from the St Johns bridge to block the vessel’s route out of port. A further 13 activists are assisting those abseiling, and all have enough supplies to last days.
Annie Leonard, the Executive Director of Greenpeace US, said, “Every second we stop Shell counts. The brave climbers here in Portland are now what stand between Shell and Arctic oil. This is President Obama’s last chance to wake up and realize the disaster that could happen on his watch. There is still time for our President to cancel Shell’s lease to drill in the Arctic, living up to the climate leader we know he can be. Shell has ignored the world’s best scientists, as well as millions of people around the world, who have all said repeatedly that the melting Arctic is a dire warning, not an invitation.”
It is also thought that further protesters are ready to take to the water under the bridge, in kayaks, in a repeat demonstration of what was called the ‘Kayaktivists Paddle In Seattle’ earlier this year, where the Polar Pioneer offshore drilling rig was blockaded in port.
The US coast guard has released a statement saying that they are monitoring the situation. The Portland police, said that the bridge will remain open, and that arrests will take place soon, although safety is their main priority.
On Friday (24th), Offshore Post published an article detailing that Shell had received all final permits from the US government agencies, including the BSEE, to enable it to start drilling offshore Alaska.
The leased semisubmersible offshore drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer, is thought to be out of port and heading to its first offshore exploration area, to start drilling.
Shell are yet to make any comment on the situation.