A group of environmental activists have surrounded Shearwater’s seismic vessel Geo Coral on its way to the Otway Basin, where it’s been recently given clearance to commence a survey on behalf of oil and gas giant ConocoPhillips.
Grassroots Action Network Tasmania (GRANT) and Otway Climate Emergency Action Network (OCEAN) have protested for three days and temporarily stopped the vessel from leaving Geelong Port by chaining themselves to the gates and paddling around the ship.
Two protesters boarded the Geo Coral. One activist was arrested and released and no charges have been laid at this stage, Extinction Rebellion Australia said.
Last week, Australia’s offshore energy regulator NOPSEMA approved the controversial King Island seismic shoot, which will take place about 23 km west of the island, including in part of the Zeehan Marine Park.
The group’s formal consultations, submissions, and other attempts to communicate concerns over seismic testing and new gas drilling have been ignored.
“It’s barbaric that we’re letting an international company blast our oceans for profit when we don’t fully understand what it could do to our ecosystem,” says Ally King, GRANT member and marine science student. “The flow-on effects to our fisheries have also been neglected.”
The survey is expected to take approximately 60 days, though the vessel may be present on location for longer than this depending on factors such as sea state, whale-instigated shutdowns and technical issues, NOPSEMA said. The actual number of days of active seismic acquisition will be approximately 30 days.