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Kaikoura Community Flotilla take oil fight to the capital

Kaikoura Community Flotilla take oil fight to the capital

Kaikoura residents opposed to deep sea oil exploration off their coast are blocking Anadarko's seismic testing vessel, the MV Duke, from leaving Wellington Harbour today.

This protest is part of ongoing resistance the stop-deep-sea-drilling community have planned in protest against oil exploration in the Pegasus Basin, where the MV Duke has been firing seismic blasts into the seabed 35 nautical miles off the coast of Kaikoura. The MV Duke has been in port in Wellington and had planned to return to the Pegasus Basin this afternoon.

Protest spokesperson Tania Wati said “There are 9 swimmers in the water today, representing the different kinds of people that make up our concerned community. We believe deep sea oil exploration is bad news and it’s time for kiwis to get off the fence. We want to put the call out to the rest of New Zealand - help us save Kaikoura from the Hazards of Duke.

We have travelled to Wellington from Kaikoura to voice our concerns about deep sea oil exploration off our coast. We have been speaking but Anadarko and the government is not listening - so we thought we would bring our concerns to Wellington. The politicians can’t ignore us on their doorstep, just like we won’t ignore dangerous seismic testing off ours.”

Kaikoura resident Brett Cowan, concerned about the safety of Kaikoura's whales, dolphins and marine life, said "Seismic testing creates noise pollution which is known to distress whales and dolphins, impacting on their ability to feed and navigate through their environment. As kaitiaki, our community is responsible for the safety of the local marine life that makes Kaikoura such a special place and is the backbone of our local economy. Seismic testing is dangerous; it is deaf by a thousand booms."

A recent study by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), part of the United States Department of the Interior, clearly shows harm to whales, dolphins, fisheries and other marine life caused directly by seismic mapping.

The Kaikoura stop-deep-sea-drilling community fully support recent protest action across the country against deep sea oil exploration by the Te Reinga Hikoi to Waitangi, Oil Free Wellington and Oil Free Otago. Oil spill modelling shows that an oil spill in Otago could reach Kaikoura.

Local surfer Haley Baxter said “We are a strong community and we intend to send a strong message to Anadarko and this government that Kaikoura does not want this dangerous activity here in our waters.”

ENDS

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