As has been well-documented, Royal Dutch Shell has plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, despite their knowledge that such extraction will exacerbate Climate Change (see here, here or here). President Obama has given these plans his blessing, as could be expected of a politician beholden to the extraction industries. In order to commit such an ecocidal act, Shell has to transport many different resources to the area by ship, and activists have attempted to slow the process by blocking, if only temporarily, a couple of these key transports. In Seattle, kayakers delayed the departure of a Shell oil rig in June.
In Portland, the Fennica, a Shell ship carrying a key piece that is required on site before drilling can legally begin, docked for repairs about five days ago, giving local activists scant time to put together a response. Another kayak blockade was quickly planned, and to the surprise of most locals, Greenpeace pulled a surprise action a little after 3:00 a.m., early on the morning of July 29th. Thirteen people with climbing equipment lowered themselves off the St. John’s Bridge, downriver from the Fennica, and positioned themselves in harnesses about a third of the way down, with ropes strung between themselves. This simple, even elegant, set-up made passage of the Fennica impossible without injuring the climbers. They were provisioned with enough food and water to stay there for days.