Activists Chained to Shell Supply Vessel Decide to Come Down

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May 25, 2015

Coast Guard crew members assist Chiara D’Angelo down from the anchor chain of Arctic Challenger in the Port of Bellingham, May 25, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard Photo


Two activists who secured themselves to a Shell offshore supply vessel moored in Bellingham, Washington this weekend have both decided to come down.

The U.S. Coast Guard reports that activist Chiara D’Angelo requested Coast Guard assistance down from Arctic Challener’s anchor chain at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Monday after she spent three nights suspended there. On Sunday morning, the Coast Guard helped a second activist, Matt Fuller, who joined D’Angelo on the anchor chain early Saturday morning. The demonstration was in protest of Shell’s planned offshore drilling in the Alaskan arctic this summer.

Close_up_chiara_suspendedThe Coast Guard reported that D’Angelo was transported in good condition to Station Bellingham where she was met by EMS and the Bellingham Police Department.

“It was cold, rainy and she was starting to display signs of hypothermia,” said Chief Warrant Officer Charles Chavtur, commanding officer of Station Bellingham. “Boatcrew members were able to safely assist her down from the chain and gave her blankets and water. We brought her back to the station where she was evaluated by EMS and released to her family and friends.”

On Sunday, Fuller was also brought to Station Bellingham in good condition. He was later issued a summons and released without arrest.

The Coast Guard reported Sunday that it had already cited four people for violation of the 100-yard safety zone around the Arctic Challenger and terminated the voyage of two vessels determined to not have had the required safety gear, including operating without navigational lights after sunset. A small inflatable raft was held due to lack of proof of ownership.

The Arctic Challenger is a support vessel for Shell’s drilling program in the Chukchi Sea. The vessel is not scheduled to depart from Washington for several days.

“The Coast Guard has a duty to promote the safety of life at sea, which includes the encouragement of safe navigation in our ports and waterways by all waterway users, said Lt. Cmdr. Justin Noggle, chief of enforcement at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, in Seattle. “The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment Rights of people to safely and lawfully assemble on the water. To that end, we will enforce those laws and regulations necessary to ensure the safety of the maritime public.”

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