Highlights from the 2011 Stop Deep Sea Oil Flotilla

This is the story of the 2011 flotilla opposing deep sea oil drilling, a group of boats that sailed in the name of te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Greenpeace, the Nuclear Free Flotilla, Forest and Bird, anti-mining group Coromandel Watchdog, the Coal Action Network (CAN), Board Riders against Drilling, and climate action group 350 Aotearoa, to protest the exploration for deep sea oil off the East Cape.

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The SV Vega is an 11.5 metre ketch launched in 1949 near Whangarei. Built on a Northland beach without the aid of power tools, she was planked from a single kauri log. In the early 1970’s she was bought by David McTaggart, a Canadian living in New Zealand, who went on to become the Chair of Greenpeace International.

Vega has participated in campaigns around the globe promoting Nuclear Free Seas, highlighting toxic issues, opposing driftnets and working to protect the environment.



Infinity is used for environment research and awareness raising, sailing extensively across the Pacific Ocean. Skipper Clemes Oestreich says “We didn’t want to be a spectator and use the Pacific for our pleasure. We wanted to contribute”.

The crew of Infinity have participated in scientific research into the coral reef crisis across Asian waters and the Pacific Ocean, whale observation and threatened bird research with Birdlife International.

An ongoing project is filming interviews of Pacific people’s observations and oral history on climate change impacts they see in their lives and their vision of the future.



Siome is just over 20 metres long, made of steel and built in 1988 by Alan Meyer and his family. Siome has had a busy life from being a family home for 20 years where six kids were raised as they travelled round world to being used to tag turtles on the Atlantic for research.

The next year, the crew of Siome successfully urged the Government of Vanuatu to make a stance against nuclear fuel ship movements through their waters.



Secret Affair is a 44-foot long gulf cruiser built in 1982 that has been with David Armstrong for 14 years. She’s very fast and weathered a few Pacific cyclones and challenged the French Government’s nuclear testing in the Pacific.



Windbourne, originally built in England, came to New Zealand 30 years ago where she was renovated in Nelson. Windbourne has been with current skipper Avon Hansford for seven years. He says much of her history is lost.

The current flotilla is possibly Windbourne’s first time at the environmental front line.

The latest updates


Nine questions UK MPs should ask Shell about its Arctic drilling

Blog entry by Bex | March 14, 2012

Today, we’re in for a treat – another glimpse into the fantastical world of the Arctic oil spill response plan writer.  Shell and Cairn Energy – who have both tried to use brute legal force to obstruct public scrutiny of their...

From muesli bars to a global mind bomb

Blog entry by Viv Hadlow | March 6, 2012

The Greenpeace New Zealand office gave us a standing ovation when Shai, Ra, Mike, Shayne, Lucy and I finally arrived ‘home’ from New Plymouth, and for the very first time since we set out to board the Noble Discoverer five days ago I...

Judge rejects bulk of Shell’s proposed restraining order against Greenpeace

Press release | March 3, 2012 at 12:04

Auckland, 3 March 2012 — A federal judge in Alaska has rejected the bulk of a lawsuit brought by Shell Oil Company against Greenpeace USA which would have been one of the broadest and most restrictive in US legal history, according to the...

Shell Contracted Drillship.

Image gallery | February 29, 2012

Thank you!

Blog entry by Ra, Mike, Lucy, Shayne, Viv and Shai | February 29, 2012

To all the amazing supporters from all over the globe who took the time to show your love and commitment to this cause. First and foremost, thank you so so much from all seven of us who were up on the top of the drill ship, but also...

Top 10 reasons why Arctic oil drilling is a really stupid idea

Blog entry by Ben | February 29, 2012

Shell would have us believe that it's all very safe and there's nothing to worry about but here's our 10 reasons Arctic oil drilling is a really bad idea: It’s extremely dangerous. The Arctic environment is one of the...

Activists, actor Lucy Lawless arrested for Shell Arctic drillship occupation

Press release | February 27, 2012 at 11:37

Auckland, February 27th 2012 — The occupation of an Arctic-bound Shell drillship by six Greenpeace activists including actor Lucy Lawless ended this morning after police climbed the ship’s drilling tower and arrested the group. The protest was...

Day four on the drillship

Blog entry by Viv, Lucy, Ra, Mike, Shayne and Shai | February 27, 2012

Fourth day here on the Shell drillship and a gorgeous sunrise after a night of being shelled by sound bombs over the loud speaker... beautiful Texan accents, white noise, feedback sounds at intermitent intervals... made us howl with...

Stand up for what we all stand on!

Blog entry by Ra | February 26, 2012

Day three and (nearly four!!) of occupying Shell's drillship the ´Noble Discoverer´. (What a pathetically ironic name.) It's been a tough couple of days but I'm getting my second wind now - especially seeing how our action - seven...

Flood of support online boosts Arctic drillship protest

Press release | February 26, 2012 at 15:10

Auckland, 26 February 2012: The occupation of Shell Arctic drillship Noble Discover has continued for a third day. Five Greenpeace activists and actor Lucy Lawless remain in place on top of the drillship, after spending a chilly second night on...

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