Kayaktivists and Greenpeace protesters celebrated Thursday morning when the MSV Fennica, a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaking vessel bound for the Arctic, turned around upstream from an activist blockade near Portland, Oregon. Thirteen climbers lowered themselves from a bridge Wednesday while kayakers gathered in the Willamette River below in an attempt to stop the ship from departing the city where it had been docked for repairs.
See a video of the standoff by Reuters/The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, The Seattle Times reported, “A federal judge in Alaska has ordered Greenpeace USA to pay a fine of $2,500 for every hour that protesters continue to block [the icebreaker].”
“We are confronted with a huge decision, one we cannot make alone,” Greenpeace USA Executive Director Annie Leonard told The Seattle Times. “Right now we’re asking the activists what they think we should do next. As of this moment, the 26 activists will stay in place.”
Shell is hoping to tap a region in the Arctic which could contain 25 billion barrels of oil, but they cannot legally begin operations until the icebreaker is on site. For their part, Shell has tacitly accepted the protests if not the direct action in Portland.
“As for the activities of the day, we respect the choice that anyone might make to protest based on Shell’s Arctic aspirations; we just ask that they do so safely and within the boundaries of the law,” Shell spokesman Curtis Smith told the AP.
For live coverage of the protest, visit www.oregonlive.com, and see more coverage below via Twitter.
Update – 7:05 PST: Fennica has moved past protesters after authorities removed climbers from bridge and kayakers from water.
— Laura Frazier (@frazier_laura) July 31, 2015
Update – 2:55 PST: Police have begun encircling protestors, at least one kayaker has been taken into custody.
— Molly Young (@mollykyoung) July 30, 2015
— KGW News (@KGWNews) July 30, 2015
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) July 30, 2015