Environmental activists, organised by Greenpeace have forced Shell’s Arctic Icebreaking vessel to turn back to an Oregon port.
A total of 13 activists abseiled down from St Johns bridge yesterday, in a bid to block any marine traffic from leaving the Willamette river, in Portland, Oregon.
The icebreaking vessel, the Fennica, has been leased by Shell to be part of its offshore Arctic exploration fleet. She was sent to get repairs earlier this week, to a Portland dry dock after sustaining damage to her hull whilst working for Shell off the Aleutian Islands, near Dutch Harbour, Alaska.
Greenpeace have said that the 13 abseilers had enough supplies to last days, and that they had a further 13 activists assisting.
The activists abseiled down early Wednesday (29th July) morning at equal distance from each other, with ropes linking each one to the next, in effect creating a suspended blockade.
Banners were flown, with the now ubiquitous twitter tag #shellno, with red and yellow streamers flying from each protester.
Fennica’s Attempted Departure
At around 7am PDT today (30th), the Fennica attempted to leave port with assistance from the US Coast Guard. All water born activists were cleared. The Fennica icebreaker came within a few hundred meters of the protesters on St Johns bridge before stopping for safety.
After a short standoff, the Fennica turned around and began heading back to port, to much jubilation to the protesters. One protester Dan Cannon tweeted “the Fennica is no longer in sight”
Greenpeace have said that they will stay there indefinitely, as they attempt to stop Shell from drilling in the Arctic long enough for the Arctic winter to start.
Shell have yet to comment on the situation, or the wider halt to its offshore exploratory drilling campaign in the Alaskan Arctic water.
However Shell did released their second quarter results today, which showed a 37% downturn in profits on the same period last year. Shell also announced today that it would be shedding 6,500 jobs.