The Greenpeace climbers and dozens of so-called ‘kayaktivists’ have positioned themselves under the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, which crosses the Williamette River leading to the Columbia and Pacific Ocean from a shipyard in Portland.
The protestors are attempting to block the Shell icebreaker Fennica, which will be used to carry a critical piece of drilling equipment, from departing for Alaska after undergoing repairs.
Greenpeace says the activists have enough supplies to last several days.
The Fennica was back in Portland to repair a 3-foot long gash in its hull discovered July 3rd as the vessel was departing Dutch Harbor headed for the Chukchi Sea.
The Fennica’s primary role in Shell’s drilling operations in the Chukchi Sea will be to carry the well capping stack, a critical piece of containment equipment considered that last line of defense against a major blowout during drilling operations.
Last week, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) approved permits for limited exploratory drilling activities in the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska, which limited Shell to drilling only the top sections of wells and prohibiting the company from drilling into oil-bearing zones until the capping stack, carried by Fennica, can be deployed within 24 hours.