New Zealander in protest over Shell’s Arctic oil plans

Press release - May 4, 2012
New Zealander James Bellamy is this afternoon (NZ time) part of a Greenpeace Nordic team of activists that are involved in a stand-off at sea with a Shell-contracted icebreaker, the Nordica, that is on its way to the Arctic to support the drillship the Noble Discoverer, which was occupied for four days by Greenpeace New Zealand in February.

The Nordica is currently steaming in waters between Germany and Denmark, while the activists pursue it in RHIBs.

Earlier this afternoon, the Nordica spent two hours steaming in circles, as the Greenpeace team shadowed it.

Today’s events follow two other actions this week; the vessel was boarded and occupied for 10 hours in port in Helsinki, and was again boarded at sea yesterday afternoon (NZ time), in Swedish waters. The Nordica had to return to shore, setting sail again 10 hours later.

The action is being taken to continue the protest against the oil major’s destructive plans to start drilling in the pristine Arctic region.

"Every day that Shell isn’t drilling in the Arctic is a day of reprieve for the people, animals and ecosystems that depend on a healthy Arctic for their very survival,” says Bellamy.

“It feels great to be picking up on the fantastic work that Lucy Lawless and the other activists did in New Plymouth to help save the Arctic,” he says.

But Bellamy says that he is there for another purpose as well.

“I am here not just to put a stop to Shell’s plans to be the first oil major in the Arctic, but to also stand up against extreme frontier drilling all over the world, including in the deep waters off New Zealand.

“Companies like Petrobras, Anadarko – which had a 25 per cent share in the Deepwater Horizon – and Shell, are all intending to start exploratory drilling off our coasts soon…in Anadarko’s case, as early as next summer.

“Just as I don’t want to see an oil spill in the Arctic, I’d hate to see oil covering the beaches on Stewart Island, the Catlins, the west coast of the North Island, or on the Canterbury Coast,” says Bellamy.

In 2010, Bellamy was involved in the Stop Deep Sea Oil Flotilla, which successfully disrupted a Petrobras-commissioned seismic survey of the deep-water Raukumara Basin.

The Nordica is heading to Alaska to join another icebreaker in supporting the operations of the Kulluk and the Noble Discoverer, the two drill ships that are en route to the north coast of Alaska to drill five exploratory wells for Shell in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, respectively.



For updates and interviews, phone Jay Harkness, Greenpeace NZ Media and Communications, on 021 495 216.