Seattle: Anti-drilling protesters in Seattle blocked port entrances by road on Monday as demonstrations continued against Shell’s plans for oil exploration in the Arctic Sea.
As Shell has long planned to moor its Arctic fleet in Seattle’s Terminal 5, the city has been the focus for months of preparation by environmentalists concerned about the risks of a ruinous oil spill further north.
A crowd, hundreds strong, marched peacefully across a bridge to Terminal 5 where they split up to cover the entrances, brandishing banners and expressing their discontent through song, rap and dance with both the Arctic plan and Seattle’s role in hosting the fleet. After a few hours, and under a watchful police presence, the crowd dispersed.
The on-land march followed a weekend of more water-bound activities in the so-called “Festival of Resistance” as hundreds of small vessels, kayaks, canoes and the like conveyed their emphatic “Shell, no!” message.
Focus for much of their animosity was the Polar Pioneer rig, now in Seattle’s bay but destined for the Chukchi Sea, off Alaska, where it will be one of two giant floating platforms to drill.
Activity at the port was minimal as port managers had known well in advance about the day’s activities.
Also on Monday the city of Seattle issued a violation notice, saying use of Terminal 5 by the Polar Pioneer violated the site’s permitted use as a cargo terminal. The city has the power to fine up to only $500 and Shell and its host Foss Maritime have until June 4 to rectify the violations.