Images - Flotilla diverts oil ship, East Cape
Flotilla Opposing Deep Sea Oil Drilling Diverts Oil Giant’s Seismic Testing Ship
Whakatāne, Sunday, 10 April 2011: Today activists aboard the flotilla opposing deep sea oil drilling disrupted the seismic testing by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras. Swimmers with large visible buoys baring flags with the message ‘Stop Deep Sea Oil’ are entering the water in front of the oil survey ship Orient Explorer and diverting the ship off course.
Greenpeace New Zealand Climate Campaigner Vanessa Atkinson radioed the Captain of the Orient Explorer ahead of time and reminded him that six days ago he was requested to cease surveying activity and leave. The Captain confirmed he had received these messages.
The flotilla now comprises of the following vessels: Infinity, San Pietro, Secret Affair, Siome and Windbourne.
Rikirangi Gage, spokesperson for te Whānau ā Apanui said, “Petrobras has no consent to be in these waters from te Whānau ā Apanui. We’ve already told them that. This is not a protest. This is an act of defence of our ancestral lands and waters that have sustained us for generations. Te Whānau ā Apanui want Petrobras to leave these waters and not return.”
Steve Abel, Greenpeace climate campaigner based in Auckland said, “If we don’t stop this initial deep sea oil exploration, rigs could be off coasts all around New Zealand in the near future, each one increasing the risk of spills and fuelling climate change as the oil is burnt. We are sending an emphatic message to the New Zealand Government that deep sea oil drilling will not be tolerated in New Zealand waters”.
“It is the Government who are endangering our coastline, our marine environment and our climate for the last drops of oil. At this moment they could be leading the way to a future with clean fuels and energy technology”, he said.
Te Whānau ā Apanui’s fishing
boat San Pietro is part of the flotilla, as a tribal
representative, and also as a concerned member of New
Zealand’s large fishing industry.