Coast Guard sets in motion civil penalties against four activists

Civil penalties against four activists set in motionThe U. S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound investigating officers initiated civil penalties against four individuals who entered an established safety-zone around a Shell-contracted vessel Arctic Challenger in Bellingham, Washington during Memorial Day weekend.

Cody Erdman, Chiara D’Angelo, Paul Adler and Matthew Fuller were cited in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations for entry into or staying in a federally-regulated safety zone between May 22 and 24.

To remind, Chiara D’Angelo and Matthew Fuller secured themselves to the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger in order to protest against Shell’s plan for Arctic drilling.

The Coast Guard assisted Fuller on May 24 and D’Angelo on May 25 from the Arctic Challenger and both were transported to Station Bellingham where they were met by EMS and the Bellingham Police Department. D’Angelo was issued a summons by the local police department.

According to the press statement, Coast Guard officials can seek a maximum civil penalty of $40,000 for each entry into the zone or day the individuals violated the zone. The final penalty will be determined by the Coast Guard Hearing Office in Arlington, Va. Hearing officers will be assigned and provide the individuals an opportunity to refute the charges or provide evidence on their behalf.

On April 28, the Coast Guard established 100-yard safety zones around Shell’s Arctic drilling and support vessels while moored or anchored, and a 500-yard safety zone while transiting to allow maximum use of the waterway by all users consistent with safe navigation.

“The Coast Guard supports and defends the rights of the public to assemble peacefully and protest; however, prolonged violations of the safety zones tax Coast Guard resources and crews hindering the Service’s ability to quickly respond to mariners in distress or other life-threatening emergencies,” said Capt. Joe Raymond, commander of Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound and captain of the port.

“Most importantly, prolonged safety violations unnecessarily put protesters and law enforcement personnel at risk due to rapidly changing environmental conditions, fatigue and marine traffic.”

Image source: Rising Tide Bellingham

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