Seattle: Around a dozen anti-oil-drilling protesters were arrested on Monday for trying to impede the progress of Shell’s oil rig Polar Pioneer as it departed its staging post in Seattle and headed north towards Alaska.
Environmentalist activists in kayaks, the co-called “kayaktivists”, formed a blockade of 13 boats backed up by about 50 in canoes in a futile but symbolic bid to stop the rig.
The US Coast Guard scooped up and arrested some of the demonstrators for violating a court-ordered safety zone around the Shell vessel. The charges carry penalties of fines in the hundreds of dollars.
Protesters want Shell to refrain from its planned exploratory drilling in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea.
Seattle has been the focus for environmentalists’ actions since early May when Shell moored its Arctic drilling fleet there and in nearby Pacific Northwest towns. That followed a decision by the US government’s Department of the Interior to approve the Arctic drilling campaign.
Greenpeace and other groups contend that Shell has not done enough to show its emergency measures will be adequate to deal with an oil-spill event in the difficult Arctic conditions.