Protesters out to meet Shell’s Polar Pioneer as rig reaches Port Angeles

Seattle: Environmental activists were out in force to protest the arrival of Shell’s Polar Pioneer rig in Port Angeles, Washington State, on Friday.

The US Coast Guard was on hand to make sure the protesters, many in kayaks and rafts and brandishing signs, did not encroach within a court-ordered distance of the rig – 100 yards while it’s anchored, 500 yards while it’s on the move.

But the activists still made their feelings known, telling local media they feared for the Arctic environment – where the rig is going to drill – because any accidents or spills would be extremely difficult to clear up.

After being transported for weeks across the Pacific on the heavy lift vessel Blue Marlin, and being temporarily boarded mid-ocean by Greenpeace activists last week, the Polar Pioneer will be offloaded in Port Angeles to have equipment installed.

Friday’s stop is just a way station before the huge semi-submersible rig heads up to Seattle where Shell’s Arctic fleet will be based before ultimately going to Alaskan waters in the Chukchi Sea to begin exploratory drilling.

The rig is assured an even more hostile reception from environmentalists when it reaches Seattle, where opponents have planned a three-day “festival of resistance”.

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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