Video Blog Fifteen The Anadarko drill ship Noble Bob Douglas arrives at the deep sea drill site 110 nautical miles West of Raglan to find the Oil Free Seas flotilla occupying the site is informed that the SV Vega is not moving.

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What are these cowboys doing in our waters?

The SV Vega is squeezed between the Noble Bob Douglas and her support vessel, the Bailey TIde.

Despite all the rhetoric about safety being bandied about, these operators are clearly into playing risky games.

We have just watched the support vessel Bailey Tide create a dangerous situation. At around 1810 hours,without any warning, the Bailey Tide began to move sideways squeezing Vega towards the side of Noble Bob Douglas, moving in very close. At about 1820, Bailey Tide used her thrusters to create a wash that swung the Vega sideways causing her bow to get close to the Bailey Tide. Fortunately the helmsman of Vega was able to use full engine power and rudder to get safely away from the situation.

We are all well aware that Vega is within the “exclusion zone”, bearing witness, and representing the views of thousands of New Zealanders who are opposed to deep sea oil drilling in our waters. Anadarko’s Captains are well aware of this too, yet, they refused to acknowledge repeated calls from Vega or clarify their intentions. There is no excuse for this cavalier attitude towards safety and peoples lives.

For me as a professional mariner it was very upsetting to witness this sort of behavior by other so called professional mariners on the Anadarko vessels, they seem to have a total disregard for safety at sea and the rules of the road at sea, not a good sign for the upcoming inherently dangerous exploratory deep sea oil drilling operations.

We have to ask, who invited this Liberian flagged vessel, under the command of Texan cowboys, into New Zealand waters? Why are they allowed to operate when the EPA has neither seen nor approved their oil spill response plan?

What are these cowboys doing in our waters?

Daniel Mares, Mate SV Tiama


Video blog Fourteen Barclay Armstrong performs a haka on his stand up paddle board amidst the Oil Free Seas flotilla at Anadarko’s deep sea drill-site in the Tasman Sea as they await the arrival of the drill-ship Noble Bob Douglas.

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Video Blog Eleven: Bunny, Jeanette and Niamh

Jeanette, Bunny and Niamh talk about deep sea oil, climate change, solutions and the future. And they talk about why they are the others are sailing to confront Anadarko over its plans to drill for oil in the deep seas off the West coast of Aotearoa.

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PRESS RELEASE: Anadarko Fail to Turn Up at Drill Spot as Flotilla Continue to Occupy Site

The Oil Free Seas Flotilla have successfully defended the sea above the site where oil giant Anadarko intends to start drilling.

Anadarko have so far failed to turn up at the site, despite an official ‘notice to mariners’ stating that they could have started drilling operations several days ago.

Land Information New Zealand Notices to Mariners Edition 23, dated 8 November says that ‘On or about 15 November 2013 until 14 February 2014 drilling operations will be performed by drillship Noble Bob Douglas’.

The drill site is over 100 nautical miles off the west coast of New Zealand, and in waters around a kilometer and a half deep.

The Oil Free Seas Flotilla is made up of six boats. They were cheered off by hundreds of New Zealanders from various ports earlier this week.

They are continuing to defend the site from the Noble Bob Douglas drilling ship, which has not yet been tested to drill at these depths.

Bunny McDiarmid, the executive director of Greenpeace, is onboard one of the boats. She said:

“The Texan oil giant Anadarko were supposed to start drilling days ago. But they haven’t.

“I reckon there’s something wrong with their huge, untested drilling ship, or they’re staying away while we’re right above the spot where they want to drill. Either way, it’s great to see that they’re not drilling.

“That’s great news for our seas, our beaches, and also our economy, and our children’s prosperity.”

This Saturday, New Zealanders can show their support for the flotilla by making a banner and getting down to their favourite west coast beach. There’s lots more details here.

The Oil Free Seas Flotilla is a loose association of individuals and boat owners who oppose deep-sea drilling and the new legislation that takes away New Zealander’s long-standing right to peacefully protest at sea. One of the boats taking part, the Vega, also sailed against French nuclear tests in the Pacific.

Earlier this year, the Government announced a controversial new law to ban aspects of protesting at sea, known as the ‘Anadarko Amendment’.


Here’s a link to the daily video blogs:

Contact information:

Anna Horne, spokesperson for the Oil Free Sea Flotilla, 021 0222 1389

Ana Mules, communications officer, Greenpeace: +64 21 2609186

Steve Abel, energy campaigner, Greenpeace: +64 21 927301

Daniel at the Helm of Vega
Daniel Mares at the Helm of Vega

Calm seas and a false alarm

Daniel at the Helm of Vega

It’s lunchtime and we are visiting Tiama, Jeanette and I and having some lunch and doing some emails. Well actually Jeanette is making the lunch and I am doing the emails.

It was once again a beautiful night, clear skies, flat seas, we are rolling a bit though so sleeping is a bit of a roly, poly affair and you need to stuff clothes and gear around you to keep you in one spot.

This morning it was overcast but has now cleared and is sunny again! Apparently there is only a 2% chance of getting this kind of flat calm weather in the Tasman and I think we are using up the whole 2% this week, as its supposed to last a few more days.

Early this morning we were alerted to the fact that one of the support vessels for the drill-ship Bob Douglas, the Hart Tide, was on its way and we figured it might signal the imminent arrival of the drill-ship.

It turned out to be a false alarm after the Hart Tide turned around and vanished back over the horizon after a short while but it sure put a jolt through the crew and got us thinking clearly about where we are and exactly why we’re here.

We are right now on the site, at the place that Anadarko intends to drill a big hole in the seabed in some of our deepest coastal waters in search of more oil. Finding oil won’t make a scrap of difference to the price we pay at the pump but will make a big difference to our climate and wastes yet another opportunity to invest in the kind of clean energy and tech that will give us a fighting chance in the global economy of the 21st century.

This is desperate extreme frontier drilling – like drilling in the Arctic. The sort of drilling that used to be uneconomic due to the high level of risk, but now the big oil companies are increasingly willing to take more risk.

But the real risk is taken by us, not by Anadarko. A spill here could devastate NZ’s marine environment, our good reputation as a clean producer that is the bedrock of our economy – and also our very way of life.

If things go wrong here, oil could flow into the ocean unchecked for weeks on end and wash up on beaches on much of the North Island’s west coast.

So we’ll stay here as long as we can.

Bunny McDiarmid

Co-Skippers of the Vega, Daniel Mares and Inigo Wijnen, en route to the drilling area from Auckland.

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