Protester finally comes down from Shell support vessel

Seattle: The protester who chained herself to a Shell support vessel in protest at the company’s planned Arctic oil-drilling campaign, finally came down on Monday.

Activist Chiara D’Angelo, aged 20, requested US Coast Guard (USCG) help to get her down from the Arctic Challenger, (4404 dwt, built 1976) which Shell intends to use in its fleet to explore for oil and gas in the Chukchi Sea off of Alaska.

D’Angelo had been attached to the anchor chain of the vessel, in Bellingham harbour north of the fleet’s Seattle base, since Friday and was feeling the discomfort of the rain and the cold.

She had company for part of her uninvited stay on board when she was joined by fellow activist Matt Fuller from Saturday morning until Sunday.

D’Angelo was helped down around 9.30am on Monday. Her protest began a few days after the mass “Shell-no” event of the preceding weekend in which hundreds participated on sea in Seattle’s Elliott Bay and on land.

The Arctic Challenger is a converted barge that is designed to launch containment equipment in the event of a spill. Protesters doubt its ability to be effective in the harsh Arctic climate, and they fear an environmental calamity in the event of an accidental spillage.

The USCG did not interfere with D’Angelo over the duration of her protest but said it had impounded the activists’ support vessels.

A Shell spokesman was unmoved by the protests, saying the two activists were guilty of trespassing and that they had jeopardised their safety and that of others.


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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