Polar Pioneer: More protests ahead, with plans to shut down Port of Seattle terminal

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SEATTLE -- Joe Kiser traveled from Burien for a look at the Polar Pioneer, Shell's massive oil rig that sits moored in Elliott Bay.

"It’s a magnificent piece of technology," Kiser said Friday. "And it’s part of the world economy."

Kiser is OK with Shell’s plan for the mammoth rig -- to drill for oil in Alaska. But there are plenty of people around Seattle who are angry over its presence.

A fleet of activists paddled out into the bay in kayaks Thursday to protest the arrival of the Polar Pioneer.

Now that it’s here, they’re not done. They are planning for an even bigger demonstration on the water Saturday.

On Monday, several demonstrators say they will risk arrest to try to shut down Shell’s operations for the day.

Seattle and Port of Seattle police and the U.S. Coast Guard say they're ready. Protesters promise their demonstrations will be non-violent.

Paul Queary, with Foss Maritime, the contractor for Shell, says crews are preparing the oil rig to be loaded for the trip to Alaska.

Queary expects the company to hire hundreds of people, while pumping millions of dollars into the economy.

On Thursday, crews were also making space for an investigator with the Seattle planning office. That investigator is expected to find the rig in violation for not having the proper permits.

If it doesn't leave, Foss and Shell will face daily fines, and the case could be turned over to the city attorney’s office, though Mayor Ed Murray says that still might not be enough to get rid of the newest addition to the Seattle skyline.

"We still encourage them to re-apply for a permit that would be in compliance but besides making a statement and challenging their permit, the city has relatively limited authority when it comes to this oil rig."

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