Watch Activists Dangle Off a Portland Bridge to Block Shell’s Arctic-Bound Ship

Greenpeace activists watch Shell's MSV Fennica return to dock after apparently impeding it from returning to the Arctic Thursday morning. Courtesy of Greenpeace USA


Update 7/31/15: Thursday evening, Shell’s MSV Fennica made another attempt to pass through protestors on Portland’s Willamette River. This time, the icebreaker was successful; the Fennica is now on its way back up to the Arctic. The video below shows the dramatic confrontation between the ship and the environmental activists:

Environmental activists have taken to kayak, chain, and even rocking chair to slow down Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic this summer. For the past two days, they took their protest to a new extreme. Early Wednesday morning, around a dozen Greenpeace activists rappelled off a bridge over the Willamette River in Portland, Ore. to stop a Shell ship stationed there for repairs from returning to the Arctic. This morning, it appears they caused the ship to turn around after it tried to rejoin Shell’s fleet in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea.

The ship, called the MSV Fennica, went all the way up to the Arctic only to find a 39-inch-long gash in its side. The damage was so serious, the ship had to travel all the way back to Portland for repairs. The Fennica is an icebreaker, but also carries Shell’s capping stack, needed to stop an underwater well leak; Shell can’t begin its exploring until the Fennica and its equipment is back and functioning in the Arctic.

In an effort to stop it from rejoining Shell’s fleet in the Chukchi Sea, and delay the oil giant’s drilling plans there, Greenpeace organized protestors to dangle from Portland’s St. John’s bridge and physically stop the ship from traveling down the Willamette River and back out to the Pacific. We reached out to Shell to confirm if the protestors have affected the Fennica’s schedule, but have not heard back.

Below, we collected some Twitter photos of the dramatic protest:

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