PRESS RELEASE: Oil Free Seas Flotilla Occupying Anadarko Oil Drill Site

Six boats are currently occupying the sea above the site where oil giant Anadarko intends to start drilling in the coming days.

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 six boats are part of the Oil Free Seas Flotilla which was cheered off by hundreds of New Zealanders from various ports earlier this week.

They are now waiting for 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:

“We’re here to protect our seas, our beaches and our future prosperity. And we’re doing that by sitting right here, on the very spot that Anadarko want to drill for oil using their untested drilling ship. Continue reading “PRESS RELEASE: Oil Free Seas Flotilla Occupying Anadarko Oil Drill Site”

Enroute from Wellington to the flotilla renzezvous point

Slept like a log last night, my watch finished at midnight, my eyes closed and brain switched off
at 5 past. This morning I woke to us motoring because there was very little wind. But when I popped my head outside, right there only 15 miles across the water was the truly majestic Mount Taranaki with a ring of cloud at its base and a white cap. It looks like it has risen straight up out of the sea.

It was a beautiful site, and I was struck by how lucky we all are to live in such a place with mountains and coasts like we have, and what a responsibility we all have to look after it, love it and pass it on in good shape to those who come after.

Looking at the land from sea is a different perspective, everything looks closer, the distance from the coast to the mountain seems almost non existent, the land really looks like it is at the mercy of the sea, very vulnerable to what the sea wants to bring ashore. Continue reading “Enroute from Wellington to the flotilla renzezvous point”

Leaving Wellington on the SV Tiama to join the flotilla


Wellington turned out a beautiful day for the send off to the last two boats, Tiama and Baltazar, joining the oil free seas flotilla today. More than a 100 people, politicians, media, musicians and lots of young people turned up to see us off which was great.

It was almost flat calm in Cooks Strait when we sailed out of the mouth of the harbour
today at around 2pm, hard to believe really, all those murderous Picton to Wellington ferry trips of my youth seemed a big fat lie of a memory.

It is now a very clear night with the familiar outline of Kapiti off the starboard bow, and wind from just the right quarter to make it almost textbook perfect sailing conditions. So a gentle start weather wise for this intrepid group today and that’s very much welcomed by those of us that need to get our sea legs back in shape and makes us feel like the sea gods are very much on our side.

We picked up Niamh and James from Otago from just off Mana Island around 8pm this evening, truly amazing that they made it, thank you everyone for making that all happen, feels so much better to have them as part of our team.

They chugged out to meet us in an oompah, oompah little motor launch with a skipper in a white captains hat and a small dog, accompanied by Mike and Hinekaa. It felt like something out of a Tintin story.

A successful end to an exciting day. We all had a dinner of hearty potato and leek soup and a sobering safety briefing from the skipper, set the sails and set our course for the spot where we will meet up with the rest of the flotilla and take it from there.

The boat is quiet now with most tucked up in their bunks reading or sleeping. We have three watches, Henk and I on the 8-12, Pascale and James on the 12-4 and Niamh and Barclay on the 4-8. Jeanette will do the 4-8 during the day.

We made it, we are on our way.

– Bunny

With the Anadarko Flotilla – day one


What a fabulous send off. A dozen kayakers, wearing penguin suits, lined up and waved us on our way as we left the harbour. Several small boats sailed with us. About 100 well wishers gathered on the wharf; speeches in support from Green and independent MPs, Oil Free Wellington, Ora Taiao (climate and health council); two sails spread out on the ground covered with signatures and messages in support of our mission; and home baked cookies and chocolate cake delivered to the wharf by old friends.

Continue reading “With the Anadarko Flotilla – day one”

PRESS RELEASE: Peoples flotilla takes on oil giant Anadarko

In keeping with our country’s long tradition of peaceful protest at sea, the Oil Free Seas flotilla will confront Anadarko’s oil drilling ship over 100 nautical miles off the west coast of New Zealand in the coming weeks.

The flotilla will set sail in the next few days from Auckland, Wellington, Kaikoura, Bay of Islands and Bluff, and will head to the drilling site, which is 110 nautical miles west of Raglan.

Texan oil company Anadarko is due to start drilling around the middle to the end of November, using the previously untested drill ship the Nobel Bob Douglas.

The flotilla, made up of 7 boats, 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.

“We love New Zealand, and this country is what it is because kiwis have stood up for what we believe in. I was on board the SV Vega protesting against French nuclear testing in the Pacific in the 70’s. Nuclear testing in the Pacific wasn’t right and deep-sea oil drilling in the Tasman is not right either. We will not be bullied into submission by big oil or dubious laws,” said Anna Horne of Oil Free Seas Flotilla.

Earlier this year, the Government announced a new law to ban aspects of protesting at sea. Now known as the ‘Anadarko Amendment’, it states ‘that it is illegal to interfere with any structure or ship that is in an offshore area that is to be used in mining activities, with an exclusion zone of 500 meters.’

“By being there we are saying to Anadarko that they are not welcome here doing this kind of activity. This law suits the suits, but not the environment and the wishes of the people of New Zealand” said Anna Horne.

The Oil Free Seas flotilla will depart from ports around New Zealand from Friday.

The launch events are as follows and we would like to invite all New Zealanders to grab a banner and come along.
Friday 8th at 2:00pm from Bluff (City Wharf)
Monday 11th at 12noon from both Auckland (Princess Wharf) and Kaikoura (Fisherman’s Wharf)
Tuesday 12th at 12noon from the Bay of Islands (Opua)
Thursday 14th at 10:00am from Wellington (Queens Wharf)

The Oil Free Seas Flotilla

Contact information:
Anna Horne, Spokesperson for the Oil Free Sea Flotilla, 021 0222 1389
Daniel Mares, Skipper of SV Vega, 021 72 9991
Tim Foreman, Skipper SV Friendship 021 313 849

The Nuclear Free Seas Flotilla


There is a history of seafarers taking their boats out to protect their environment. One of the more recent was the flotilla of boats that departed from the Pacific rim counties to sail into the pacific to protest and stop French nuclear testing at Moruroa Atoll. These peace flotillas set out year after year and eventually in 1995 the testing was brought to a halt.

Encounter at sea

In New Zealand the Peace Squadron made up mostly of small local vessels set out time and time again to protest against the arrival of nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered vessels into their ports, and large thanks to them New Zealand is now nuclear free.

In 2001 a flotilla of small sailing vessels set out form Australia and New Zealand set out into the Tasman Sea to peacefully protest the transport of MOX (mixed oxide fuel) plutonium fuel through their waters. The idea was to make these ships of death visible, and to raise awareness that up to 80 of these shipments are planned over the next 10 years.

This protest helped strengthen the resolve of the people in Japan who live around the first nuclear power station planning to load MOX plutonium fuel. They held a referendum and managed to block the loading of MOX. To date not a single light bulb is lit up in Japan by MOX plutonium fuel.

In June 2002 another shipment of Plutonium came through the Pacific. This time it was faulty MOX fuel being sent back from Japan to the UK. A flotilla of 11 boats from Australia, Vanuatu and New Zealand set sail into the Tasman Sea. This time the two 100 meter- long armed plutonium carriers actually stopped for the flotilla and waited until the middle of the night to sneak through the line of nuclear free seas flotilla boats. One wonders what these ships have to hide that cannot see the light of day.

At the same time there was also a flotilla of 5 boats waiting of Cape Horn in case the ships chose that route to go to Europe instead of via the Cape of Good Hope.

Nuclear Free Irish Sea Flotilla

A Nuclear Free Irish Sea Flotilla, formed by people concerned about nuclear transports and the operations of the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria, UK, prepared to peacefully and lawfully protest the faulty MOX transport.

When the faulty MOX plutonium-carrying freighters entered the Irish Sea a flotilla of 13 boats forming a symbolic chain across the entrance of the Irish Sea awaited them. The two plutonium-carrying ships sailed straight through this only to encounter another flotilla of 10 protest yachts was at the entrance of the port of Barrow.

These protests were very successful in getting the message across to the various governments and the nuclear industry. No MOX plutonium fuel has since been transported along this route.