As It Happened: Seattle Kayaktivists Blockade Shell’s Alaska-Bound Oil Rig
June 15, 2015
Early on the morning of June 15, 2015, kayaktivists confronted Shell's Polar Pioneer drilling rig as it attempted to leave Seattle for Arctic waters.
Editor’s note: Updated 5:34am PST June 16, 2015
Early on the morning of June 15, 2015, kayaktivists confronted Shell’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig as it attempted to leave Seattle for Arctic waters.
Activists were taken into custody by the U.S. Coast Guard trying to stop it. Their plan was to stay out on the water as long as possible—and that’s exactly what they did.
While Shell has left for the Arctic—and could begin drilling in roughly two weeks—this fight is nowhere near over. People power has made Arctic drilling a front page news story across the world, and Shell’s public image is crumbling by the day. It’s a story that can only build if we keep pushing it.
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Why did we do this, you ask?
Shell wants to start drilling for oil in the Arctic this year. This, despite the fact that leading scientists have said that Arctic oil must be kept in the ground if we want to avoid the worst of catastrophic climate change.
This is not Shell’s first attempt to drill in the Arctic: the company tried before in 2012. But a series of shocking accidents and mishaps with its drilling equipment led to a lawsuit, federal fines, and even felony charges. Instead of realizing that Arctic drilling is just too risky, Shell wants to try again this summer.
In the past few months, our movement has made Arctic drilling a front page news story. In April, six brave activists boarded the Polar Pioneer as it was on its way to Seattle to shine a light on Shell’s dirty plans. Just a couple of weeks ago, thousands of people joined a mass flotilla in the port of Seattle to continue to draw attention to Shell’s plans.
The momentum is on our side. Let’s keep it going.