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


PM sends military against peaceful protest

Press release | April 12, 2011 at 14:15

Ōpōtiki, Tuesday 12 April 2011: The united front of te Whānau ā Apanui, Greenpeace and the flotilla opposing deep sea oil drilling is holding its position in the Raukūmara Basin as the HMNZS Pūkakī arrived after eight days of surveillance by an...

Flotilla Opposing Deep Sea Oil Drilling Diverts Oil Giant’s Seismic Testing

Press release | April 10, 2011 at 12:16

Whakatāne, Sunday, 10 April 2011: Today activists aboard the flotilla opposing deep sea oil drilling disrupts the seismic testing by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras. Swimmers with large visible buoys baring flags with the message ‘Stop Deep Sea...

Vanessa's Blog: Seismic Events at Sea

Blog entry by Vanessa Atkinson | April 8, 2011

First Contact We headed out of Whangaparoa at Cape Runaway under a gloomy sky at sunset on Sunday. The wind was building and as were our nerves as the next phase of the flotilla to stop deep sea drilling began. After such a...

Jef's Blog: Toward Whangaparāoa

Blog entry by Jef Ikenn | April 8, 2011

Jef Ikenn is a crew member of the Stop Deep Sea Oil flotilla crew, which represents a coalition of groups that are opposed to the plans to drill for deep sea oil in the Raukūmara Basin off the East Cape. The flotilla is currently in...

Flotilla Calls Seismic Vessel to Cease Operations

Press release | April 5, 2011 at 13:13

Ōpōtiki, 5 April 2011: The first flotilla boat opposing deep sea oil drilling S/V Infinity encountered the seismic testing ship Orient Explorer in the Raukumara Basin at around 16:45 yesterday, a little over 24 hours since the deep sea oil...

Government's Energy Strategy puts us in hot water

Blog entry by Nathan Argent | April 4, 2011

Copyright Greenpeace/Malcolm Pullman As a flotilla of yachts and fishing boats sets sail for the choppy waters off the East Cape to bear witness to deepwater oil exploration, the Government’s leaked energy strategy appears to be a...

Protest Flotilla Heads Out to Confront Seismic Oil Detection Ship

Press release | April 4, 2011 at 14:21

Ōpōtiki, Monday 4 April, 2011: The flotilla opposed to deep sea oil drilling entered the zone in the Raukumara Basin where seismic testing is scheduled to begin today.

600 greet flotilla in firm opposition to deep sea oil drilling

Press release | April 2, 2011 at 18:00

Opotiki, 2 April, 2011 - Skippers, crew and activists from the flotilla of boats, which travelled from around the North Island were welcomed today at a hui in Whangaparoa Bay which was attended by an estimated 600 people opposed to deep sea oil...

Fighting spirit at Flotilla send off

Blog entry by Dean Baigent-Mercer | March 28, 2011

Copyright Greenpeace/Malcolm Pullman In speech and in song their rejection of Government approvals to allow oil exploration in their traditional water off East Cape was clear. It sent goosebumps. “This is not about money, this is...

Flotilla Stop Deep Sea Oil

Image gallery | March 27, 2011

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