Update: A Coast Guard boatcrew has assisted Bellingham Police Department personnel in the removal of the two activists who secured themselves to the chain of the barge American Trader in Bellingham, Friday morning.
The protesters were taken to Coast Guard Station Bellingham at about 9:30 a.m., aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, where Bellingham Police officers placed them under arrest. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound investigating officers intend to issue a notice of violation.
SEATTLE, June 12 (Reuters) – Two activists strapped themselves on Friday to the anchor chain of a Shell Royal Dutch Shell vessel docked in Washington state that will be part of a fleet sent north to Alaska to resume drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic.
The women used camping gear and hammocks to attach themselves to the massive chain on the barge in Bellingham, Washington, north of Seattle, the activist group ShellNo said.
They attached themselves to the vessel, the American Trader, around 3:30 a.m., the group said. Both are students at Western Washington University, KIRO-TV reported.
Bellingham police were not immediately available to comment on whether the pair would be arrested. Images from local media show the two swinging from the chain.
Last month, activists chained themselves to a different Shell vessel in Bellingham, the Arctic Challenger. That vessel, an oil spill containment barge, pulled out of the port this week and was the first of the Arctic drilling fleet headed to Alaska, a Shell spokeswoman said on Thursday.
Protesters around Washington have staged ongoing protests over Shell’s intention to resume drilling for fossil fuel in the Arctic, one of the most environmentally sensitive regions in the world, would be destructive to the ecosystem and extremely hard to clean up.
Shell maintains that it has a robust safety and cleanup plan should a spill occur.
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)