NATION

Waqanisau, Pickering Among Crew On ‘Esperanza’

Six Greenpeace climbers have intercepted an Arctic-bound Shell oil rig in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 750 miles north-west of Hawaii. They multi-national team of volunteers has scaled the
10 Apr 2015 09:37
Waqanisau, Pickering Among Crew On ‘Esperanza’
The Greenpeace ship ‘Esperanza’ which is monitoring Shell’s drilling programme in the Arctic Ocean.

Six Greenpeace climbers have intercepted an Arctic-bound Shell oil rig in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 750 miles north-west of Hawaii.

They multi-national team of volunteers has scaled the 38,000 tonne platform.

They have set up camp on the underside of the Polar Pioneer’s main deck and have supplies to last several days.

The Greenpeace crew which includes Fijians Apisalome Waqanisau and Victor Pickering are equipped with technology which will allow them to communicate with supporters around the world in real-time, despite being hundreds of miles from land.

Mr Waqanisau sent a message home yesterday saying,

“Every time I see an action or a campaign or march, anything to do with climate change, it feels as if people who don’t know me, are fighting for my home, fighting for my future, for the next generation of Pacific Islanders.”

Last week, the United States Department of Interior approved Shell’s drilling lease for the Chukchi Sea in the Alaskan Arctic. This means that in 100 days, Shell could begin drilling in the Alaskan Arctic.

On Monday the Greenpeace crew made up of volunteers from USA, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Austria and Fiji, sped towards the Polar Pioneer, which Shell intends to use to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea, in inflatable boats launched from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza.

The six climbers unfurled a banner containing the names of millions of people from around the world who are opposed to Arctic oil drilling.

Aliyah Field, one of the six, tweeted from the Polar Pioneer: “We made it! We’re on Shell’s platform. And we’re not alone. Everyone can help turn this into a platform for people power! #TheCrossing.”

The second, the Noble Discoverer, is one of the oldest drill ships in the world. In December 2014, Noble Drilling, one of Shell’s biggest Arctic sub-contractors and owner of the Noble Discoverer, pleaded guilty to committing eight felonies in connection with Shell’s failed attempts to drill in the Arctic Ocean in 2012.

Both the drilling vessels are crossing the Pacific and are expected to arrive in Seattle around the middle of April before heading to the Chukchi Sea. Shell intends to use the port of Seattle as a base for the company’s Arctic fleet, despite growing opposition from a range of Seattle-based groups.

The 35 person crew on board the Esperanza have tailed the Polar Pioneer for more than 5000 nautical miles, since it left Brunei Bay in Malaysia.

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