As It Happened: Activists Stop Shell Vessel as It Attempts to Leave Portland Harbor

by Ryan Schleeter

July 29, 2015

FINAL UPDATE 6:48 PM PDT: The 13 #ShellNo climbers have come off the bridge. Now all eyes are on President Obama to save the Arctic.

Save the Arctic

Streamers float in the wind under the St. Johns Bridge In as activists climbed under the bridge in an attempt to prevent the Shell leased icebreaker, MSV Fennica from joining the rest of Shell's Arctic drilling fleet. According to the latest federal permit, the Fennica must be at Shell’s drill site before Shell can reapply for federal approval to drill deep enough for oil in the Chukchi Sea.

© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

On July 29, 2015, Greenpeace activists suspended themselves from St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon to block a Shell Oil vessel from leaving port for Alaskan waters. The climbers were prepared with enough supplies to last several days and intended to stay in Shell’s way as long as possible. They remained in place for 40 hours.

In case you missed it, relive the events as they unfolded below, and don’t forget to say #ShellNo by telling President Obama to reject Arctic drilling.

PRESS RELEASES: BREAKING, UPDATE 1, UPDATE 2, FINAL  |  PHOTOS  |  VIDEOS

In the News

Follow this courageous act of people on social media using #ShellNo, #PeopleVsShell, and #SaveTheArctic:

What’s At Stake

Why exactly have these activists chosen to put themselves in between Shell and the Arctic? Good question!

Shell is almost ready to drill in the Arctic, but a vessel containing a vital piece of drilling equipment—without which it is not permitted to drill—has a gaping hole in it. So it had to come down here to Portland to get patched up. The courageous climbers blocking its way are now what stands in between Shell and an Arctic oil catastrophe.

Shell isn’t just threatening polar bears and walruses with its drilling plans. By tapping into a new source of oil—only accessible because of melting ice—it’s threatening the entire world with worsening climate change. And here’s the real irony: Shell wouldn’t even be in Portland if it weren’t for its own incompetence. Its icebreaker vessel, the Fennica, was damaged within weeks of leaving for the company’s drilling site in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.

With billions of dollars and the U.S. government in its pocket, Shell thinks it can get away with anything—even in the Arctic. But people around the world—including right here in Portland—are proving otherwise. Thanks to people power, the movement to save the Arctic is growing stronger every day, and we can win.

Shell would love for this fight to stay quiet, unseen and unheard by the millions of people worldwide who have spoken out against Arctic drilling. We can’t let that happen.

Say #ShellNo. Tell President Obama to reject Arctic drilling today.

Ryan Schleeter

By Ryan Schleeter

Ryan Schleeter is an online content producer at Greenpeace USA and editor of The Environmentalist blog. His writing has appeared in National Geographic, Grist, GreenBiz, EcoWatch, and more. Find him on Twitter @ryschlee.

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