As the shipwrecked Rena lies in the Bay of Plenty and its spilled oil washes ashore, Elvis Heremia Teddy is to appear in a Tauranga court today because he took a stand to protect his home coastline from oil spills.
Ironically he’ll appear at the same time as the Captain of the Rena.
In April as skipper of the small vessel San Pietro, and as part of the Stop Deep Sea Oil flotilla Elvis, along with his small crew and tribal leader Rikirangi Gage sailed the te Whanau a Apanui fishing vessel in front of the Petrobras deep sea oil survey vessel in the deep waters of the Raukumara. This is an area he and his family have fished for generations and rely on for their livelihood.
The planned deep sea oil drilling, at depths of up to double that of the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon well would put these fishing grounds and the entire East Cape coast at risk. The Rena spill has shown us just how devastating even a small spill can be – a blowout from a deep water drill would make it look like a walk in the park.
The Rena oil spill has brought home to people that New Zealand's oceans and coastlines aren't worth gambling for oil. While oil is being cleaned up on the Bay of Plenty coast, US oil giant Anadarko has a deep sea exploratory vessel are off the Raglan coast threatening exactly the same sort of disaster in the future from deep sea oil drilling.
We have seen a huge jump in people signing our No Deep Sea Oil petition - now at well over 90,000.
The Greenpeace crew will take time off this morning from their oil clean-up work on Matakana Island to gather with other Elvis supporters outside the court in solidarity.
Please join us outside the courthouse at 830am corner of Cameron and Mclean in Tauranga to support Elvis and the call to protect our coastlines and halt deep sea oil drilling plans.