US Coast Guard To Fine Arctic Drilling Bridge Protesters

Published at 12:02PM - 14/08/15

The US Coast Guard, has announced that it will push ahead and fine environmental the protesters that blocked one of Royal Dutch Shell’s vessels from leaving Portland last month.

The move comes after the Greenpeace protesters abseiled down from St John’s Bridge, Portland, on 29th July, blocking the Icebreaking vessel, from rejoining Shell’s offshore Arctic oil exploration. 

The US Coast Guard has said that it will fine five of the thirteen abseilers US$5,000 for their actions in the protests.

The Finnish owned Fennica, has been hired by Shell to be part of its exploration fleet, assembled to cover all contingencies, whilst exploring the Arctic region.

The fleet, comprising over 30 vessels, was assembled by the Anglo – Dutch oil and gas major, as part of agreements with the US authorities in getting the drilling permits.

As well as being the fleets main icebreaking vessel, the Fennica also carries the all important capping stack, a subsea device that can be lowered to the seabed and over the top of a leaking oil well in the event of a blowout.

The Fennica herself had gone into a Portland dry dock in order to get repairs to her hull, for damage sustained around the Aleutian Islands, near Dutch Harbour, Alaska.

The US Coast Guard had attempted to assist the Fennica to leave port on the 30th July, however the Greenpeace bridge protesters held firm, forcing all vessels, including Coast Guard to turn back to port.

The Fennica has since managed to rejoin the rest of the fleet in the Arctic waters, allowing Shell to start exploratory drilling offshore Alaska.

Within the last few days, Shell has put in a request to the US authorities, asking for permission to drill to greater depths that that originally agreed in its original permits.