Shell’s giant Arctic oil rig docks in Seattle despite protests

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SEATTLE — Despite protests by environmentalists in kayaks and opposition from the city of Seattle, a 400-foot-long Arctic oil drilling rig has docked at a Seattle terminal.

Tugs brought the Polar Pioneer drilling rig into Seattle waters Thursday afternoon and it was moored at Terminal 5 by 5 p.m.

Coast Guard Lt. Dana Warr says about 30 kayaks and other vessels turned out to meet the rig. He says there were no arrests.

The Polar Pioneer is one of two drilling rigs that Royal Dutch Shell plans to park in Seattle until drilling season in the Arctic begins in the summer.

Shell’s plans created a showdown not just with environmentalists but also with the city of Seattle. Mayor Ed Murray says a new permit is needed for the rigs to dock at Terminal 5, but Shell says current permits are sufficient.

Warr says people were able to protest and the rig was able to dock and “We consider that a very successful day.”

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