Above: Kaytactivists in front of the Shell oil rig as part of the sHellNo protest. Source The Backbone Campaign.
Activists, dubbed Kayactivists, met an offshore oil drilling platform that Shell plans to use for arctic oil drilling when it arrived at 7:20 AM on April 17th. The Polar Pioneer came into the Port Angeles Harbor riding on top of the cargo deck of a ship. It was greeted by a “Mosquito Fleet” — kayactivists and protesters in inflatable boats from the coalition sHellNo!. The rig will be brought to Seattle and confront even larger protests. In route from Malaysia to Port Angeles the rig was boarded by Greenpeace activists. After Seattle it is intended to travel to the Chukchi Sea off of Alaska.
The protesters kept their distance from the massive boat and oil rig which is 355 feet tall from water line to top. The safety zones are 500 yards when the rig is in motion and 100 yards away when it is stationary. The protest was made without any arrests or incidents; everyone remained safe. Participants had trained for the protest and safety was a key part of the training.
Eric Ross of the Backbone Campaign which is a member of the sHellNo Coalition told the media that the Port Angles protest was a training run for the “festival of resistance” scheduled for the arrival of the oil rig in Seattle on May 16th. Ross told the Peninsula Daily that the ocean oil-drilling process is “a travesty for the environment” and is “damning the next generation,” Ross said. Some of the signs read “Arctic Drilling Equals Climate Chaos” and “Shell Oil Kills.”
“We just want to greet them, say ‘Hello.’ Let them know that they’re not gonna slip in unnoticed. And of course, they’ll be greeted again in Seattle,” said Greenpeace spokeswoman Cassady Sharp to the Associated Press. “We just want to be there every step of the way saying ‘We’re watching you.’”
“I’m concerned that arctic drilling has the risk of contaminating one of the most pristine ecosystems in the world,” said salmon fisherman Ty Campbell reported AP.
The protests attracted a great deal of police attention from the Coast Guard, Clallam County Sheriff’s Office, Port Angeles Police Department and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, which, like the Coast Guard, are agencies of the Department of Homeland Security.
The Backbone Campaign reported:
The growing fleet of kayaks took their clarion call to “Save the Arctic” from the land, out to sea, and even the air! Equipped with paddles, PFD’s and a whole lot of heart, they brought their message, “Arctic Drilling = Climate Chaos,” right to Shell. Paddlers probed the 100 yard “safety zone” of the Polar Pioneer, the platform being prepped for Shell’s pillaging of the arctic.
Backbone also reported that “even an Orca whale joined the protest, albeit in the form of a 10 foot large kite. More unusual sights will follow as the creative, beautiful, and powerful movement grows to preserve the arctic and stop catastrophic climate change.”
The sHellNo Coalition includes Bayan USA, Backbone Campaign, 350 Seattle, Mosquito Fleet and Rising Tide Seattle.
Join the sHellNo! Action Council!
Sign-up for this weekend’s kayak trainings, and Thursday’s Training for Trainers to become a Action or Safety Lead.
- Note Ignore other times, 5pm is the official start time! – Intro to Kayaktivism: Saturday April 18th - 5pm - Register HERE
- Intro to Kayaktivism: Sunday April 19th - 10 am - Register HERE
- Kayaktivism Training for Trainers: Thursday April 23rd 5pm - REGISTER HERE
Protesters greet Arctic drill rig’s arrival in Port Angeles
3nd UPDATE — Giant oil rig arrives in Port Angeles as protesters take to waters off Ediz Hook [Gallery and video]
UPDATE: Polar Pioneer oil rig expected to arrive in Port Angeles on Friday morning; Greenpeace, Peninsula protesters say they’ll be on hand
UPDATE: Coast Guard decides against plans to accommodate protests of giant oil rig’s visit to Port Angeles