Numerous activists decked out in wetsuits and life jackets took off Seattle in other vessels and kayaks, canoes, paddleboards to the water to send the message that Royal Dutch Shell should cancel its plan to drill in the Arctic Ocean.
The “Shell No” protest was held close to where Shell’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig is docked.
Many had red scarfs that had the Shell emblem with crossed kayak paddles underneath or posters, resembling the skull and crossbones picture.
Annie Leonard, executive director of the environmental group Greenpeace USA, said there’s a long list of reasons why drilling in the Arctic is a negative thought. The focus must be on renewable energy in this time of climate change, not dirty fuels, she said.
“Why would we invest within an energy source that scientists say is leading us to catastrophe?” Ms Leonard said. Many also fear an oil spill in such a delicate and remote area will be a disaster on many levels.
Greg Huyler, a scuba diver, stood on the pavement and shook his head to the event.
“Itis a lot of junk,” he said. “The difficulty is, all of those kayaks are petroleum products, and they’re planning to gripe about drilling for oil. And 90 per cent of them drove here in autos that use oil products.”
Alli Harvey, Alaska representative for the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign, said: “Science is as clear as day in regards to drilling in the Arctic: the only safe area for all these dirty fuels is in the ground.”
The platform was used as a stage for a group, loudspeakers along with a tall screen that showed pictures of men and women expressing their resistance to Shell’s strategies.
The Polar Pioneer is the very first of two oil drilling rigs that as it explores for oil off Alaska’s northern shore Royal Dutch Shell plans to use. The Noble Discoverer, the second rig, is set to join the Polar Pioneer in the Port of Seattle at a later date.
The Arctic holds about 30% of the planet ‘s undiscovered natural gas and 13% of its oil, based on the site of Shell.
“This amounts to around 400 billion barrels of oil equivalent, 10 times the total oil and gas created in the North Sea to date,” Shell’s site says. “Developing Arctic resources could possibly be vital to ensuring energy supplies for the long run, but it will mean balancing economic, environmental and societal challenges.”
The activists see it otherwise. The protesters say it’s vital that they take a stand “against filthy fossil fuel jobs”. They wish to place themselves on the front lines in the conflict for Arctic oil.