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.
“An oil spill would devastate our beaches and our waters. But this government’s obsession with polluting, outdated forms of energy will drill through our cutting edge, clean technologies, that will power not just our homes and our cars, but our economy too.
“The National government may have given up on our kiwi know-how and innovation, but we have not. That’s why we’re here, right now, at this crucial moment for New Zealand. To protect our seas, our beaches, and also our economy, and our children’s prosperity.”
Also on board is Jeanette Fitzsimons, who said:
“I am doing this on behalf of my grandchildren and everyone’s grandchildren. They have a right to a decent world with clean seas and a stable climate. Anadarko is threatening that right. We know there are clean energy alternatives that can replace fossil fuels. It’s time we invested in those.”
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’.
The positions of all yachts can be seen on this map:
Here’s a link to the Oil Free Seas Flotilla website with daily video blogs:
Anna Horne, spokesperson for the Oil Free Sea Flotilla, 021 0222 1389
Ana Mules, communications officer, Greenpeace: +64 21 2609186 email@example.com
Steve Abel, energy campaigner, Greenpeace: +64 21 927301 firstname.lastname@example.org