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Greenpeace again stands in Shell’s way to arctic

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Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 22.51.53Activists hang under the St Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon, in an attempt to block the Shell-leased icebreaker MSV Fennica. Photograph: Steve Dipaola/Greenpeace

PORTLAND, Ore., July 29 (UPI) — Greenpeace said Wednesday several of its activists have suspended themselves from an Oregon bridge using climbing gear in a protest against Royal Dutch Shell.

“The next big step in the fight to save the Arctic is happening right now,” the campaign group said in a statement. “Greenpeace U.S. activists have suspended themselves from St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon to block a Shell Oil vessel from leaving port for Alaskan waters.”

The advocacy group said 26 climbers are working to block the movement of MV Fennica, chartered to carry critical safety equipment called a capping stack to drilling sites in the Chukchi Sea. Greenpeace said its climbers have enough supplies to stay on the bridge for several days, adding they’re prepared to “stay in Shell’s way as long as possible.”

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement last week granted permission to Shell to drill two wells in the arctic waters off the Alaskan coast. BSEE said the permits excluded drilling into oil-bearing zones because Shell lacks the critical piece of safety equipment. Shell would need the capping stack positioned near drilling sites to continue beyond the exploratory phase.

Shell in early July discovered small breach in the hull of MV Fennica. A drill ship slated for offshore Alaska, Noble Discoverer, suffered a series of setbacks during a 2012 campaign off the coast of Alaska.

Fourteen activists from Greenpeace were arrested in June by federal authorities during a protest against Shell’s arctic Alaska program off the coast of Seattle.

The Greenpeace activists were part of a larger group of around 50 protesters. Each of the Greenpeace activists were released and issued citations of $250.

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