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


#BlockTheOffer - Auckland Council

Blog entry by Kamal Sunker | October 27, 2015

Join us on Thursday 29 October outside the Auckland Town Hall on Queen Street at 9am to encourage Auckland councillors to vote against deep sea oil drilling off Auckland’s coast. Last time, the council vote was split 50/50 and the...

5 Reasons not to drill for deep sea oil in NZ

Blog entry by Kamal Sunker | October 20, 2015

1.Our ocean is too precious to destroy The tragic Rena spill off the coast of Tauranga was just a drop in a bucket of what could happen to our coastlines.With our Maui’s dolphins at the brink of extinction and the thousands...

And the OSPAR goes to… the Arctic!

Blog entry by Pilar Marcos | April 28, 2015

Yes, that is not a typo. The OSPAR Award. A long awaited Award that the Arctic well deserves. But, what is an OSPAR? The OSPAR Convention is an international agreement of 15 European countries (Arctic and non Arctic states)...

You can’t sink a rainbow, you can’t seize a sunrise

Blog entry by Alex Harris | January 24, 2014

Alex Harris ar the Greenpeace office in London I trembled as I walked through the grounds of Murmansk prison on the 26th September. Inmates watched me and the arrival of the other notorious 29 new prisoners through their cell...

Waiting for the (ig)Noble Bob Douglas

Blog entry by Bunny McDiarmid | November 18, 2013

Out on the Tasman it is still, sunny and calm. The water has been so flat lately that, ironically, it’s technically known as "oily seas" because there’s a sheen over the water. Take note of this though because it’s the only time you’ll...

Why I am sailing with the Oil Free Seas flotilla

Blog entry by Bunny McDiarmid | November 16, 2013

I am setting sail with the Oil Free Seas flotilla . We’re heading towards the site where the now infamous Texan oil giant Anadarko will attempt to drill. It’s about 110 nautical miles to the west of Raglan, and around one and a half...

"Where our leaders fail us..." - The folly of fossil fools

Blog entry by Nathan Argent | November 13, 2013

This week, a flotilla of yachts will be leaving our shores and heading out to the deep waters off the coast of Raglan. Their purpose: to protest at Texan oil giant Anadarko’s plans to drill an exploratory well in our backyard. This...

Your backyard is no longer your business

Blog entry by Nathan Argent | August 30, 2013

A while back, the respected political expert Bryce Edwards wrote a piece in the Herald under the title: “ Democracy under attack, again ”. It was written amidst the controversy surrounding the law reforms to allow spying on people like...

If the crackdown on protest at sea is so popular, why the shady meetings?

Blog entry by Nathan Argent | July 10, 2013

Today, the Herald trotted out a piece based on some polling they’ve done, about the recent crackdown on protesting at sea. We’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about the responses people were offered, and the actual question.

When Big Oil comes to town

Blog entry by Maya McNicoll | January 21, 2013

Today was the first time in about a week I woke up feeling anything like human.  I’ve been laid low for the past few days with some gruesome combo of motion sickness and a wicked head cold.  When I feel a filthy lurgey coming on, I...

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