BREAKING: Activists occupy Arctic-bound icebreaker in Finland

Posted by bex — 1 May 2012 at 10:06am - Comments

Live streaming of Greenpeace Nordic activists occupying a Shell-contracted icebreaker in Helsinki harbour.

Dozens of Greenpeace Nordic activists have boarded and occupied a Shell-contracted icebreaker in Helsinki harbour as it prepares to leave for the Alaskan Arctic.

They're there to try to stop destructive oil drilling in the melting Arctic waters, which Shell wants to start this summer. Please join them and write to Shell telling them you want the Arctic protected, not exploited for profit. An amazing 380,000 of you have already done so - let's make it 500,000!

More news to follow. In the meantime, you can watch the live feed from the ship (above) or follow the latest news (below).

Update: "We are here on behalf of the nearly 400,000 people around the world who in just a couple of months have spoken out demanding that Shell cancel its reckless campaign of Arctic destruction," said Greenpeace campaign manager in Finland Tapio Laakso. "Oil companies know full well that an oil spill off the Alaskan coast would devastate the environment and prove impossible to clean up."

For the first time in our history we are faced with the possibility of a world without ice at the North Pole, without a home for polar bears, narwhals and walrus. It is fundamentally wrong that Shell is making money drilling for more of the oil that has caused this melting in the first place.

The Nordica is one of two Shell-contracted icebreakers owned by the Finnish government. It is heading to Alaska to join its sister ship, the Fennica, to support the Kulluk and Noble Discoverer, the two drilling vessels en route to the north coast of Alaska to drill five exploratory wells for Shell in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas later this summer.

Shell is the first major international oil company to make exploitation of the Arctic a serious corporate focus. If it strikes oil this summer, other global oil giants will quickly follow and spark a dangerous Arctic oil rush.

Update, 2nd May: As the activists occupying the Nordica were removed by police and arrested yesterday afternoon, 22 more activists arrived in inflatable boats and canoes and deployed buoys in front of the icebreaker while others swam toward it with handheld banners.

They were eventually detained, ending the 10-hour occupation. In all, Finnish police detained 42 Greenpeace activists from 13 different countries. Most of them were released overnight but eight people are still in custody.

The icebreaker Nordica has now left Helsinki harbour, headed for Alaska. But you can still stop Shell.

Thanks John - I've updated the blog with the latest. 42 activists were arrested in all - most were released overnight but eight are still in custody as I write.

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