A group of Greenpeace “kayaktivists” took to the waters of the Puget Sound a few short weeks ago in an attempt to stop the Polar Pioneer, Shell Oil’s newest Arctic drilling rig, from taking a breather in port on its way up to Alaska. They were ultimately thwarted by the Coast Guard’s concern for their safety and Shell Oil’s determination to continue on its mission, and just a few short days ago, the last kayaks finally pulled back.
Little did we know, as they left, that our story on Greenpeace’s hypocritical opposition to Arctic drilling – they get plenty of funding from their own team of petroleum profiteers – wasn’t the end of our coverage of the odd ironies of #ShellNo. As Greenpeace pulled away, they left behind an environmental disaster, littering a popular dive site and rolling over a marine wildlife habitat, causing around $10,000 in damage to a protected locale, and angering local environmental groups who had been working to save the natural resource and its inhabitants.
Near the kayak line, divers cleaned up a site damaged by the activists’ barge. Used for staging their protests, the barge anchors were originally dropped into a popular dive spot. They dropped 4,000-pound anchors into a habitat known for several different kinds of marine species.
“A lot of people come here to see Giant Pacific Octopus,” said Koos Dupreez.
Dupreez works with Global Underwater Explorers. They coordinated the clean-up, asking the activists to cut their lines so as to avoid any further damage. Divers removed huge cement blocks and chords, worried for the safety of people and animals
It cost $10,000 and created some wake among environmental groups.
“Having someone else who is concerned about the environment trash the environment, some people were upset, understandably so,” Dupreez said.
The cement blocks the activists used as anchors weighed between 1 and 2 tons, and the “Solar Pioneer,” the barge the environmentalists were using, was moored using strong cables that weren’t secured well enough to withstand tidal swings. As a result, the cables wrapped around structures in the dive area, Alki Cove 2, and destroyed marine life habitats.
The damage was obviously very expensive, and despite their substantial budget, Greenpeace was either unwilling or unable to foot the bill. Instead, Shell Oil, the company the environmentalists were protesting, stepped in to fund the environmental cleanup efforts, joined by Foss Maritime, the company that helped to house and repair the oil rig as it made its scheduled stop in Seattle. Those two companies provided teams of divers who helped to untangle and clear the cables and pull up the cement blocks as the Greenpeace “kayaktivists” floated out of the harbor.
A popular contention among environmentalists in favor of regulation is that no corporation is willing to clean up their environmental mess without prompting and oversight from the Federal government. Perhaps next time the issue is raised, someone should ask the environmentalists if the same presumption applies to them.