Shell Rig Arrives in Washington Sans Greenpeace Activists

Mike Schuler
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April 17, 2015

Coast Guard crews escort the 674-foot Curacao-flagged semi-submersible heavy lift ship Blue Marlin to its anchorage location in Port Angeles Bay, Wash., April 17, 2015. U.S. Coast Guard Photo

The 674-foot semi-submersible heavy lift ship Blue Marlin arrived Friday to its anchorage in Port Angeles Bay, Washington with Shell’s arctic-bound oil rig Polar Pioneer.

The heavy lift ship arrived to the anchorage under escort of the U.S. Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Clallam County and City of Port Angeles.

Noticeably absent from pictures and video was Greenpeace’s MV Esperanza, which earlier this month was used to launch a protest in which 6 activists climbed aboard the rig as it sailed across the Pacific Ocean. The activists stayed aboard the rig for about 5 days before they were forced off due to weather.

AIS data shows the Esperanza docked across the strait in Victoria, British Columbia as of Friday at 1300 EDT.

While the escort did keep protestors at bay on the water, there were still plenty ashore in Port Angeles to meet the arrival of the rig. Greenpeace has also been organizing protests against Shell’s arctic drilling activities throughout the Seattle area.

The Polar Pioneer rig, owned by Transocean, is one of the rigs expected to head up to Chukchi Sea in the Alaskan arctic to drill for Shell this summer.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Interior upheld a 2008 lease sale in the Chukchi Sea, giving Shell the approval needed to continue its oil and gas exploration program there, although this summer’s drilling campaign is yet to receive final approval and permitting.

U.S. Coast Guard Photo
U.S. Coast Guard Photo
U.S. Coast Guard Photo
U.S. Coast Guard Photo
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