May 23, 2015 5:10 PM

2 people chained to Shell ship north of Seattle

The Associated Press

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) Two people have chained themselves to a support ship that is part of Royal Dutch Shell's exploratory oil drilling plans and currently moored in Washington state.

Eric Ross of the Backbone Campaign said on Saturday morning that Matt Fuller joined student activist Chiara Rose in suspending themselves from the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger, which is in Bellingham Bay.

Rose suspended herself from the ship with a climbing harness on Friday night.

The Coast Guard cutter Osprey spent the night monitoring Rose but took no action, Petty Officer 3rd Class Katelyn Shearer said Saturday morning. "We're really most concerned for her safety and the safety of everyone involved," Shearer said.

Ross said both Rose and Fuller are fine and are not being harassed by the Coast Guard. But he expressed concern for Rose's health and said she must be getting dehydrated and tired after her night above the water.

Authorities spoke with the woman and asked her to remove herself. "There's no plans right now to do anything further," Shearer said.

The ship isn't scheduled to leave the port for several days.

Rob Lewis, a spokesman for the Bellingham activists, said they are protesting Shell's plan for Arctic drilling. He described the Arctic Challenger as a savior vessel that is used in the case of an oil leak, but said activists doubt its effectiveness at preventing environmental disasters like the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

He confirmed that the Coast Guard was not interfering with Rose, but they had impounded the activists' support vessels.

Protesters in Seattle have been demonstrating against another part of the Shell drilling fleet. Dutch Shell is using Seattle's seaport terminal to house a massive floating drill rig, the Polar Pioneer.

Last weekend, hundreds of activists in kayaks swarmed Elliott Bay to protest Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic. The protest was dubbed the "Paddle in Seattle."

Those activists have also expressed concern about the risk of an oil spill in the remote Arctic waters and the effect of Shell's operations on global warming.


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