Shell drilling support vessel turned back by blockade, climbers remain after 30 hours

Press release - 30 July, 2015
Portland, Oregon, 30 July, 2015 - Greenpeace USA activists suspended from the St. John’s Bridge in Portland for more than 30 hours have successfully prevented Shell’s Arctic drilling support vessel, the Fennica, from leaving Portland today.

The Fennica left its dry dock at approximately 6:15 am Pacific time this morning and moved toward the St. John’s Bridge, but turned back at approximately 8:00am and is now back near the dry dock where it was undergoing repairs.

Kristina Flores, one of the activists on the bridge, tweeted “Feeling victorious! The Fennica turned around and headed back to the port. Another successful day of blockading! #shellno arctic drilling!!”

The thirteen Greenpeace USA climbers remain suspended below the St. John’s Bridge, along with thirteen more activists on the bridge providing support.They are prepared to hold the line as long as possible.

“In the struggle for a better world, these thirteen courageous souls are currently the last line of defence for the fragile Arctic. This morning they turned Shell’s dangerous drilling support vessel around. On behalf of millions of people around the world they are saying sHell no to Arctic oil drilling. It is now time for President Obama to listen to the growing movement in the US and beyond. It is not too late for him to revoke Shell’s lease to drill and to send this ship back to port permanently”, said Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International

Some members of the climb team have been tweeting updates from bridge, including @KristinaNFlores and @DanEnviroCannon. Greenpeace also released video statements from four members of the climb team; Kristina, Harmony, Georgia, and Elizabeth.

Since Shell’s drilling fleet arrived in the Seattle area and then began moving North to the drill site, a broad movement has emerged in the Pacific Northwest of the US and extending to Alaska. In June, activists in kayaks formed a blockade around Shell’s drilling rig, the 40,000 ton Polar Pioneer, as it left Seattle en route to Alaska.

In May, the Obama administration approved Shell’s plan to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea in the Alaskan Arctic. Since that approval, both Shell's rigs, the Polar Pioneer and the Noble Discoverer have failed routine inspections.

The Fennica is one of two primary icebreakers in Shell’s drilling fleet, and is equipped with a capping stack, which Shell is federally required to have on site in the Chukchi Sea. Until the MSV Fennica and the capping stack are on site in Alaska and Shell is granted federal drilling permits, the company can only drill top wells, thousands of feet above any projected oil.

Shell’s contractors, including Noble Drilling, caused major accidents during its exploratory drilling season in 2012 including the wreck of its rig the Kulluk when it ran aground near Dutch Harbor.

Photos and videos available for download at

Ongoing updates here and on Twitter @GreenpeaceUSA, #ShellNO, #PDXvsShell



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