The activists chained themselves to the vessel in order to protest against Shell’s plan for Arctic drilling. The vessel is a part of Shell’s fleet bound to drill in Chukchi Sea this summer.
The U. S. Coast Guard (CG) personnel assisted in the removal of one activist on Sunday morning, May 24, 2015. According to the Seattle Times, the second activist, student Chiara Rose D’Angelo, is still secured to the chain.
The Coast Guard says that Matt Fuller requested their assistance down from the vessel’s anchor chain at approximately 4:30 a.m. and was taken to Coast Guard Station Bellingham.
Coast Guard personnel transported him in good condition to Station Bellingham where he was met by EMS and the Bellingham Police Department, but was not arrested. CG says that Fuller was released in good condition.
The Coast Guard has cited four people for violation of the 100-yard safety zone around the Arctic Challenger and has terminated the voyage of two vessels determined to not have had the required safety gear including operating without navigational lights after sunset. A small inflatable raft was held due to lack of proof of ownership, the CG added.
“The Coast Guard has a duty to promote the safety of life at sea, which includes the encouragement of safe navigation in our ports and waterways by all waterway users,” said Lt. Cmdr. Justin Noggle, chief of enforcement at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, in Seattle.
“The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment Rights of people to safely and lawfully assemble on the water. To that end, we will enforce those laws and regulations necessary to ensure the safety of the maritime public.”
Shell’s Arctic-bound drilling rig Polar Pioneer was also recently boarded by activists while the rig was being transported across the Pacific Ocean. After the rig arrived at the Port of Seattle, it was met by protesters in a fleet of kayaks carrying signs with messages against Arctic drilling.
Offshore Energy Today Staff; Image: Rising Tide Bellingham