Shell Oil Ice Breaker Braves Greenpeace Protestors to Start Journey to Arctic
The Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker Fennica has finally embarked on its journey to the Arctic, where it is scheduled to begin drilling operations. Environmental protests against the drilling operation had caused many doubts to emerge about whether the operation would commence. The Fennica made its way from the dry dock down Willamette River despite protests and it progressed toward the Pacific Ocean unimpeded after an initial obstruction by the environmental activists.
In a novel and dangerous form of protest, the activists spent more than two days dangling from a bridge in Oregon, as they continued to protest against Shell’s drilling operations in the Arctic. The protestors were supported and joined by kayakers, who tried to block the way for the ice breaker by positioning themselves in the water to prevent it from leaving Portland. The bridge had been closed for a while by the police to prevent any risk to life after the protestors chose to demonstrate their dissent by hanging from it. They were later charged with criminal charges, following which they were lowered into the water. Immediately after this, the icebreaker began its progress.
Shell oil already has a fleet in position in the Arctic and the Fennica is bound to this location to join them in the operations. The icebreaker carries a critical piece of equipment that is used to cap the well if a blowout is imminent and without this equipment the drilling operations cannot be carried out. The protests against the icebreaker could have cost the oil giant a huge price if the ice breaker had been delayed any further as the initial operations had already commenced by the Transocean Polar Pioneer in the Chukchi Sea.