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Protest Groups to Go to Sea Against Amazon Warrior

Protest Groups to Go to Sea Against Amazon Warrior

Climate Justice Taranaki is teaming up with other groups to take the protest to sea against seismic survey ship the Amazon Warrior, in a bid to stop more drilling and bring in a much needed marine mammal sanctuary in the South Taranaki Bight.

‘The Beast’, as it is otherwise known, has been contracted by Schlumberger to look for oil and gas reserves under a permit owned by the company OMV. The ship began seismic surveying a couple of weeks ago in one of the largest petroleum prospecting permits in New Zealand, from Raglan to Farewell Spit, for up to 3 months this summer. The operation has been the subject of protest across the country with a call from
major groups such as the Iwi Chairs Forum, Greenpeace, Forest and Bird, and over a thousand Taranaki locals including iwi and hapū, to instate amarine mammal sanctuary and to shut down the survey.

“The South Taranaki Bight is part of the most diverse cetacean region on the planet with over 36 cetacean species, of which 6 are endangered and 18 unable to be classified due to a lack of data. Under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, that NZ signed in 1992 along with 149 other countries, we have a responsibility to avoid harm to threatened species and promote their recovery. Several scientific studies have shown that seismic surveys can cause direct or indirect harm to not only large marine mammals, but also penguins, fish, lobsters, scallops, squids, krill and zooplankton. Krill is the main food source of the endangered Blue Whale that feeds here”, said spokesperson for Climate Justice, Emily Bailey.

“Our group has been campaigning to stop oil and gas drilling in Taranaki since 2011. So as Taranaki is facing a drought with marine waters exceeding a record 6 degree celsius temperature rise, the Amazon Warrior got their permit - after they had already arrived and set up. The drilling and seismic surveys have gone on too long. We decided enough was enough”, said Bailey.

The group is teaming up with others to hold a ‘Rally on the Water’ in New Plymouth at the end of this month to practice protesting against support vessels for the Amazon Warrior that are coming into ports. They have also put the call out for boats, skippers, volunteers and donations to get people out to 'meet' the Amazon Warrior ship offshore this summer. The ship was confronted by iwi and Greenpeace off the East Coast last year as part of a nationwide community campaign against which has partially lead to more and more companies pulling out such as Anadarko and Statoil.

“The new government says their hands are tied by current legislation and we need to change the law. Well, we want to make sure that the legislation is changed as soon as possible and the proposed marine mammal sanctuary approved so that no more ships come hunting for fossil fuels in our region anymore. The age of oil is killing us. It’s time to shut it down”, said Bailey.


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