PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker that was the target of environmental protesters left Portland, bound for an Arctic drilling operation.
The Fennica headed out Thursday after authorities forced protesters in kayaks from a river and removed others dangling from a bridge.
The demonstrators had been trying to stop the vessel from leaving dry dock and making its way along the Willamette River toward the Pacific Ocean.
The Fennica arrived in Portland for repairs last week.
It attempted to leave earlier Thursday but turned around when activists dangling from St. Johns Bridge refused to let the vessel pass.
The icebreaker is a key part of Shell’s exploration and spill-response plan off Alaska’s northwest coast. It protects Shell’s fleet from ice and carries equipment that can stop gushing oil.
The move by Coast Guard and police officers to put an end to the protest came hours after a federal judge in Alaska ordered Greenpeace USA to pay a fine of $2,500 for every hour that protesters dangle from a bridge over the river to block the ship.
KPTV reports the U.S. Coast Guard was asking kayaktivists to leave the area Thursday afternoon. Police and Coast Guard officers were joined by firefighters and a rope-rescue team.
Video from the station’s helicopter showed at least one person on the bridge with their hands tied behind their back. It is unclear if any arrests were made.