Anti-drilling activists plan ‘festival of resistance’ against Shell’s Arctic fleet when it’s based in Seattle

San Francisco: Undeterred by the end of Greenpeace’s occupation of a Shell rig in transit across the Pacific, green groups have more up their sleeves, including a “festival of resistance” in Seattle to protest the oil giant’s planned resumption of Arctic drilling.

One of the environmentalists’ main points of focus is on Seattle’s Terminal 5 which is expected to be the mooring place for the Shell Arctic fleet, activist websites said on Wednesday.

Protest groups are planning a “festival of resistance” in the Washington State port city, in the hope of picking up the momentum gained from Greenpeace’s rig raid.

In that incident six Greenpeace campaigners earned headlines last week by pursuing and boarding the Polar Pioneer as it was being transported across the Pacific on the heavy lift vessel Blue Marlin.

The six occupied the rig for five days and vowed to disregard court injunctions won by Shell, but they finally disembarked because of harsh weather.

Two months ago the Port of Seattle signed a lease with Foss for a substantial area of Terminal 5 and Foss will host Shell’s drilling fleet there. The fleet is ultimately heading for Alaskan waters to start exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea.

Opponents of Arctic oil exploration and extraction have already mounted protests and taken legal action in Seattle to try to overturn the lease to Foss but so far without success.

Since last week’s injunction by a judge in Anchorage, Alaska, activists are forbidden from approaching within 500 yards of Shell’s vessels.

So opposition groups have to get creative in their resistance plans. There will be a waterfront rally in downtown Seattle on Sunday April 26 and the “festival of resistance” will run from May 16-18 in which opponents promise “three days of creative, people-powered resistance to Shell and the climate crisis”.

Local activists in Seattle have issued a rallying call for supporters across the Pacific Northwest region to join in the events.

A flotilla of kayaks is scheduled for May 16, with other actions over the following two days. The website says protesters will “use nonviolent action to shut down Shell and all operations related to their Arctic expedition.”

As well as the Polar Pioneer, Shell also has the Noble Discoverer drilling vessel crossing the Pacific.

The Polar Pioneer is due in Port of Los Angeles around Friday for a short stop before moving on up the coast to Seattle.

The US Coast Guard has said it would establish safety zones around Shell’s Arctic drilling vessels to enforce the injunction.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.


  1. Question: If Dakota Bakkan oil/gas reaches world market more safely in a pipeline via Oklahoma to the Gulf, incidentally reducing demand for off-shore drilling, reduce hazards of rail transport and port operations, existing petro facilities safety upgrades and fuels for more domestic uses,
    WHY build the Keystone XL pipeline, twice as long, through more sensitive habitat?

    A question Warran buffett cannot answer while busy mismanaging BNSF rail lines in Warshington State. Oregon is protected by the Columbia River BNSF RR bridge, which “cannot” handle crossings and other operations safely. Highly explosive shipment crossing the RR bridge looks unlikely.
    Rail operations to the propane tank-farm in North Portland are much less hazardous at Longview.
    Longview’s town boys are all lined-up to ship coal instead though the more/better jobs are in propane.

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