Hundreds on the water to protest Shell oil rig
SEATTLE — Hundreds of kayakers paddled towards a common enemy moored on Elliott Bay: the towering oil rig, Polar Pioneer.
“A big show of people power against the presence of shell’s rigs here,” said Emily Johnston, one of the organizers.
The rig arrived Thursday, and will eventually sail to Alaska to drill in the deep waters of the arctic ocean, something activists say is a threat to the environment.
The protesters are made up of several different groups, including Green Peace, and a contingent of Native Americans from Alaska.
“There’s no assurances of protections for the people, and their livelihood,” said Faith Gemmill, one of the Alaskans taking to the waters of the Puget Sound. “That’s why they should not even go there. They should not pass Seattle.”
The flotilla of protesters got close to the oil rig on Saturday, but police boats and the coast guard kept them back.
Foss Maritime, the local contractor for Shell, is beginning the process of loading the rig for travel. The company says the Polar Pioneer’s presence means hundreds of local jobs, and millions pumped into our economy.
The activists say it’s not worth it. Johnston said their protests will continue Sunday and into Monday when they try to shut down the terminal.
"We’re going to make people understand that this is a catastrophic project, and that they can not come here and just do business, and have us treat it like normal business."