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

Press release - April 10, 2011
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 Oil’ are entering the water in front of the oil survey ship Orient Explorer and diverting their ship off course.

The "Stop Deep Sea Oil" flotilla shadowing the seismic survey ship Orient Explorer off East Cape. Sunday April 10, 2011. Photo: Greenpeace / Malcolm Pullman

Greenpeace New Zealand Climate Campaigner Vanessa Atkinson radioed the Captain of the Orient Explorer ahead of time and reminded him that six days ago he was requested to cease surveying activity and leave. The Captain confirmed he had received these messages.

The flotilla now comprises of the following vessels: Infinity, San Pietro, Secret Affair, Siome and Windbourne.

Rikirangi Gage, spokesperson for te Whanau a Apanui said, “Petrobras has no consent to be in these waters from te Whanau a Apanui. We’ve already told them that. This is not a protest. This is an act of defence of our ancestral lands and waters that have sustained us for generations. Te Whanau a Apanui want Petrobras to leave these waters and not return.”

Steve Abel, Greenpeace climate campaigner based in Auckland said, “If we don’t stop this initial deep sea oil exploration, rigs could be off coasts all around New Zealand in the near future, each one increasing the risk of spills and fuelling climate change as the oil is burnt. We are sending an emphatic message to the New Zealand Government that deep sea oil drilling will not be tolerated in New Zealand waters”.

“It is the Government who are endangering our coastline, our marine environment and our climate for the last drops of oil. At this moment they could be leading the way to a future with clean fuels and energy technology”, he said.

Te Whanau a Apanui’s fishing boat San Pietro is part of the flotilla, as a tribal representative, and also as a concerned member of New Zealand’s large fishing industry.

For more information contact:

Dayle Takitimu, spokesperson for te Whanau a Apanui on: 021 378 770
Steve Abel Greenpeace Climate Change Campaigner in Auckland on: 021 927 301
Dean Baigent-Mercer Greenpeace Communications Officer on: 0226 730 572