Two activists have secured themselves to the anchor chain of the vessel that is part of Shell’s Arctic-bound fleet docked in Bellingham, Washington on Friday morning, June 12, 2015.
According to the U. S. Coast Guard, watchstanders at Sector Puget Sound received a call around 4:50 a.m., from Station Bellingham personnel, reporting protesters had secured themselves to the Shell-contracted vessel’s chain.
The Coast Guard established a 100-yard safety zone in place around Arctic drilling and support vessels while moored or anchored, and a 500-yard safety zone while those vessels are transiting.
About five hours later, the Coast Guard boatcrew assisted Bellingham Police Department personnel in the removal of those two activists secured to the chain of the barge American Trader.
The protesters were taken to Coast Guard Station Bellingham at about 9:30 a.m., aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, where Bellingham Police officers placed them under arrest. According to the press statement, Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound investigating officers intend to issue a notice of violation.
“Coast Guard personnel have an excellent working relationship with our partner law enforcement agencies, and together we are committed to the safety of life at sea,” said Lt. Cmdr. Justin Noggle, chief of enforcement at Sector Puget Sound.
“We will continue to enforce those laws and regulations necessary to ensure the safety of the maritime public.”
Safety zone violations can result in a maximum civil penalty of $40,000 for each entry into the zone or day the individuals violated the zone.
This is the second time that one of Shell-contracted vessels, that is part of its Arctic drilling fleet, has been a target for activists protesting Shell’s Arctic drilling plans. The previous attempt also included two activists that chained themselves to Shell’s support vessel Arctic Challenger. The U. S. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound investigating officers later on initiated civil penalties against four individuals who entered an established safety-zone around the Arctic Challenger including the two who were secured on the anchor chain.