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Activists Swarm Shell Oil Rig to Prevent Arctic Drilling

On June 15th, Shell Oil’s giant oil rig was due to leave the port of Seattle to head up to the Arctic to drill for oil. But at 4am, dozens of “kayaktivists” surrounded the giant Shell oil rig in order to try to stop them. The Coast Guard pulled the activists out of the water, clearing a path that ultimately allowed Shell’s rig to head to the Arctic for drilling.

Activists who oppose Royal Dutch Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean prepare their kayaks for the "Paddle in Seattle" protest on Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Seattle. The protesters gathered at a West Seattle park and then joined hundreds of others in Elliott Bay, next to the Port of Seattle Terminal 5, where Shell's Polar Pioneer drilling rig is docked. (Daniella Beccaria/seattlepi.com via AP) MAGS OUT; NO SALES; SEATTLE TIMES OUT; TV OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

Other98’s own technical director, Kelly Mears, was temporarily detained by the Coast Guard as he and other activists unfurled a huge “Shell No” banner on the water. Seattle Councilman Mike O’Brien was also arrested. All of the activists faces a $250 fine.

Prior to his arrest after trying to block Shell’s oil rig, Mears had been stationed on O98’s “SOlar Pioneer,” a 4,000 square foot solar-powered barge that Other 98 built (with the help of dozens of friends) to help lift up the voices of folks from all over the world who have a beef with Shell’s Arctic drilling. The Solar Pioneer lit up the night and give Shell hell until they attempt to leave the Puget Sound. (Inspired by this action? You can donate to support our costs for setting up the Solar Pioneer).

O98’s Mears explained to U.S. News & World Reports his decision to try and put himself between Shell’s giant oil rig and the Arctic:

“Ultimately, I think that it’s pretty negligent decision to allow the vessel to drill in the Arctic,” said Mears, who came from South Carolina in April to participate in a series of protests. “My personal moral compass wasn’t allowing me to stand idly by and bemoan it as something that we can’t escape from.”

Rachel Maddow also covered the protest, and the Yes Men’s NYC-based prank last week, when they posed as Shell employees giving out free snow cones made from ice from the Arctic:

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