Woman chains herself to Shell ship in bay north of Seattle

AP News
|
Posted: May 23, 2015 2:17 PM

BELLINGHAM, Washington (AP) — The Coast Guard says it has no plans to remove a woman who has chained herself to the Arctic Challenger, a support ship for Royal Dutch Shell's exploratory oil drilling plans.

The activist attached herself to the ship anchored in Bellingham Bay, north of Seattle, on Friday evening.

The Coast Guard cutter Osprey spent the night monitoring the protester but took no action, Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer said Saturday morning. "We're really most concerned for her safety and the safety of everyone involved," Shearer said.

Authorities spoke with the woman and asked her to remove herself. Shearer said there are no plans right now to do anything further.

The ship isn't scheduled to leave the port for several days.

Rob Lewis, a spokesman for the Bellingham activists, identified the woman who has suspended herself in a climbing harness from the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger as Chiara Rose.

Lewis said she is protesting Shell's plan for arctic drilling. He described the Arctic Challenger as a savior vessel that is used in the case of an oil leak, but said activists doubt its effectiveness at preventing environmental disasters like the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

He confirmed that the Coast Guard was not interfering with Rose, but said they had impounded the activists' support vessels.

Protesters in Seattle have been demonstrating against another part of the Shell drilling fleet. Dutch Shell is using Seattle's seaport terminal to house a massive floating drill rig, the Polar Pioneer.

Last weekend, hundreds of activists in kayaks swarmed Elliott Bay to protest Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. The protest was dubbed the "Paddle in Seattle."

Those activists have also expressed concern about the risk of an oil spill in the remote Arctic waters and the effect of Shell's operations on global warming.