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


Is anyone out there?

Blog entry by Nick Young | February 26, 2012

Our brave little team has been occupying the Shell drillship in Taranaki for well over 48 hours now. Raoni, Shayne, Viv, Shai, Lucy and Mike are camped at the very top of the ship's 50m drill tower. All they have with them is what...

Our second night on the drillship

Blog entry by Viv | February 25, 2012

We're now reaching the end of our second day occupying the drill tower of Shell's drillship the Noble Discoverer. There's pretty spectacular 360 degree views from up here - we can see seals lolling on the beaches to the south and waves...

I had little choice

Blog entry by Lucy Lawless | February 24, 2012

What the sHell am I, Lucy, actress and mother, doing scaling a derrick on a drillship in New Zealand?? My heart was pounding as we made the ascent and my mouth was dry. I felt shell-shocked for half an hour after we reached...

Lucy Lawless Occupies Arctic Drilling Ship

Press release | February 24, 2012 at 9:54

Auckland, 24 February 2012 — At 7am this morning actor Lucy Lawless joined Greenpeace New Zealand activists in stopping a Shell-contracted drillship from departing the port of Taranaki for the remote Arctic, where its exploratory oil drilling...

Lucy Lawless joins Greenpeace action against Arctic oil drilling

Blog entry by Nick Young | February 24, 2012

Right now Greenpeace activists are stopping a Shell drill ship from leaving the Port of Taranaki in New Zealand for the Arctic. Climbers - including actress Lucy Lawless -have scaled the rig's drill derrick and set up camp, equipped...

Why Shell’s spill response plan is a dog's breakfast

Blog entry by Ben | February 23, 2012

While we’re Tweeting from the rooftop at London's National Gallery  (the banner is now down and Paula Bear is having a wander), we thought you might like to find out a bit more about Shell’s spill response plan – the document ...

Tweeting from the rooftops: @Shell, keep out of the Arctic

Blog entry by Bex | February 23, 2012

Tweeting from the rooftops: Shell, keep out of the Arctic Posted by bex - 21 February 2012 at 4:00pm - 31 Comments It’s official. On Friday, Shell got a step closer to drilling for oil in our planet’s last...

Why Petrobras has no right(s) to drill for deep sea oil off the East Cape

Blog entry by Jay Harkness | September 19, 2011

While the oil industry has no moral right to be opening up new, extreme frontiers in its search for the last few drops of oil - given the damage climate change will do to life on this planet - it’s also apparent that the industry may...

That Cairn social media gagging order in full

Blog entry by Bex - Greenpeace UK | July 23, 2011

A lot of people on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere have been asking us a lot of questions about the interdict (injunction) - most of which we can't answer; we're gagged from saying anything that might be interpreted as asking others...

BREAKING: Cairn obtains legal interdict: ‘Twitter ban’ and 'gagging order' for Greenpeace

Blog entry by Bex - Greenpeace UK | July 21, 2011

In its latest move to cover up the truth about its Arctic drilling, Arctic oil driller Cairn Energy has obtained an extraordinary, wide-ranging legal interdict (injunction) against Greenpeace UK and Greenpeace International, gagging...

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