Protest — July 30, 2015 at 12:53 pm

Greenpeace protesters hanging from Portland bridge prevent icebreaker from returning Artic oil drilling area


A group of 13 Greenpeace protesters are suspended from the St. Johns Bridge over the Willamette River leading to the Portland, Oregon harbor. The icebreaker MSV Fennica has been in the harbor for repairs and planned to return to Shell Oil’s artic drilling area. Oil drilling there cannot take place without the equipment being delivered by the Fennica.

In addition to the suspended protesters who are now on their second day, dozens of “kayaktivists” are in the water in kayaks to aid in preventing the ship from leaving the port.

Greenpeace released this statement about the intent of their protest:

Why exactly have these activists chosen to put themselves in between Shell and the Arctic? Good question!

Shell is almost ready to drill in the Arctic, but a vessel containing a vital piece of drilling equipment—without which it is not permitted to drill—has a gaping hole in it. So it had to come down here to Portland to get patched up. The courageous climbers blocking its way are now what stands in between Shell and an Arctic oil catastrophe.

Shell isn’t just threatening polar bears and walruses with its drilling plans. By tapping into a new source of oil—only accessible because of melting ice—it’s threatening the entire world with worsening climate change. And here’s the real irony: Shell wouldn’t even be in Portland if it weren’t for its own incompetence. Its icebreaker vessel, the Fennica, was damaged within weeks of leaving for the company’s drilling site in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.

With billions of dollars and the U.S. government in its pocket, Shell thinks it can get away with anything—even in the Arctic. But people around the world—including right here in Portland—are proving otherwise. Thanks to people power, the movement to save the Arctic is growing stronger every day, and we can win.

Shell would love for this fight to stay quiet, unseen and unheard by the millions of people worldwide who have spoken out against Arctic drilling. We can’t let that happen.

To get a sense of the scope of this protest and just how badass these protesters are, check out this short video:

In this video, a reporter does a iPhone Facetime interview with one of the protesters hanging under the bridge:

There is more video HERE, as well.

This morning, the Fennica attempted to leave the port but was stopped by the protesters, returning to its dock.

If you’d like to follow the action, check out Greenpeace USA’s Twitter feed and follow the hashtags #ShellNO and #PDXvsShell on Twitter, as well. Greenpeace USA is also providing regular updates HERE. If you’d like to tweet directly to some of the badass protesters suspended from the bridge, you do that easily HERE.