Portland’s kayaktivists ready to greet Shell icebreaker with flotilla

Portland: Although most of Shell Oil’s Arctic drilling fleet is in Alaskan waters far from the reach of environmentalist protesters, so-called “kayaktivists” will have at least one more chance to mobilise against the Dutch company this weekend.

This time it will be in Portland, Oregon, rather than Seattle, Washington, where most of the previous activities – blockades and a “Festival of Resistance” – took place while Shell used it as a staging post.

Now Portland’s green activists say they are ready to pick up the baton because the icebreaker Fennica, is expected at the Rose City’s Swan Island on Saturday for repairs to its hull after damage incurred in Alaska while it was on its way to join the fleet.

The Fennica is important to Shell’s operation in the Chukchi Sea because it is carrying an important piece of emergency equipment, the capping stack, crucial for containing a blown out undersea well.

Portlanders concerned about exploitation of mineral resources in the extreme but fragile Arctic environment will present a flotilla of kayaks, among other vessels, at Swan Island to register their protest.

The Fennica received a US Coast Guard escort on its way up the Columbia River to Portland on Friday. Shell had previously gained court orders barring protesters from coming too close to their Arctic fleet vessels.

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.
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