In Portland, Oregon, on the US west coast, activists from the environmental group Greenpeace are trying to block a Finnish icebreaker from heading to assist in Shell’s Arctic oil drilling operations. Shell plans to drill test holes off the Alaskan coast to investigate oil and gas reserves below the seabed.
The NGO said on Wednesday that it has 26 activists in place, trying to stop the icebreaker Fennica from leaving the city. Thirteen protesters dangled from the St. Johns Bridge early Wednesday, while another 13 remained on the bridge.
According to local TV station KATU, the ship was to have sailed at dawn. The Fennica was still dry docked at 6 am, and Shell officials said the departure was rescheduled for 10 am.
The ship is operated by Arctia Shipping, which is wholly owned by the state of Finland.
Arctia Communications Director Markku Tuhkanen told Yle on Wednesday that the icebreaker had not yet attempted to leave the harbour as the repairs are incomplete.
In mid-July, Arctia announced that the Fennica was being transferred to Portland for dry-dock repairs before returning to carry out its duties near the Alaskan coast. The vessel’s hull was damaged in early July while being steered by a local pilot in Unalaska Bay, leading to a ballast tank leak.
The firm said that Fennica would not be needed for further operations until ‘later in August’.
Another Arctia icebreaker, Nordica, is also assisting oil operations in the Arctic Chukchi Sea region this summer.In June, a Finnish Greenpeace member was arrested for trying to stop an oil rig from being transferred from Seattle to Alaska.