Expecting environmentalists to protest the arrival of Royal Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet at the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5, the Coast Guard has created safety zones around the ships.
Expecting environmentalists to protest the arrival of Royal Dutch Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet at the Port of Seattle, the Coast Guard has created safety zones around the ships.
While the oil rigs and their support vessels are under way in Puget Sound, the Coast Guard expects to enforce a 500-yard safety zone that will be reduced to 100 yards when the ships are anchored or moored at Terminal 5.
A second area designated for protesters is north of Terminal 5, with kayak launch points along Alki in West Seattle, Coast Guard Capt. Joe Raymond, commander of Sector Puget Sound, announced Tuesday morning.
“We want to ensure the safety of these vessels. We want to ensure the safety of anyone who wants to express their First Amendment rights and also the safety of all the other vessels and people out in the maritime transportation system,” he said. “This is a very complex system and we need to ensure that vessels can proceed to where they are going safely with no harm to people, property or the environment.”
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The Polar Pioneer, one of Shell’s oil rigs, is being transported by the Blue Marlin and is expected to arrive in Port Angeles on Friday. Another rig, the Noble Discoverer, is expected to arrive in Puget Sound in May.
According to the Port of Port Angeles, the Blue Marlin will anchor in the harbor to offload the drilling rig, which will remain in Port Angeles for about two weeks to reinstall equipment that had to be removed for transport. The work is being done in Port Angeles because the harbor is more protected, the port said in a release.
The Polar Pioneer will then be towed to Seattle.
Raymond on Monday met with environmental groups to discuss the safety risks involved in kayaking and boating near large vessels. Protesters who enter the safety zones could face civil and criminal penalties
Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Dana Warr said a civil penalty would not exceed $40,000, while criminal penalties, for violations that are willful and knowing, have a maximum punishment of 10 years in jail, a $250,000 fine, or both.