Kayak protesters briefly detained after trying to stop Shell oil rig from heading to Alaska
15 June 2015
By Phuong Le
SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard temporarily detained two dozen protesters who formed a blockade with kayaks and other vessels Monday to try to stop Royal Dutch Shell’s drill rig as it left Seattle on its way to explore for oil in the Arctic Ocean.
The protesters were scooped up from the water because they were violating the safety zone around the Polar Pioneer, which departed around 6 a.m., Coast Guard Lt. Dana Warr said. They were released after receiving violation notices that carry fines, the Coast Guard said.
About a dozen “kayaktivists” paddled out around 4 a.m. Monday to try to prevent the 400-foot-long rig from leaving Seattle, said Cassady Sharp, a Greenpeace spokeswoman. Several dozen supporters in kayaks and canoes lined up behind them, she said.
The Coast Guard picked up Kelly Mears, 28, in a yellow double kayak as he and others unfurled a massive “Shell No” banner on the water.
“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.”
Monday’s blockade was the latest protest since the Polar Pioneer arrived in Seattle in May. Activists say they are concerned about the risks of an oil spill in the remote Arctic waters and the effects that tapping new oil and gas reserves will have on global warming.
Read the complete article by Phuong Le.