It looks like a daring test or some attempt to break a record – but it is actually a Greenpeace protest. Near Portland, 13 climbers are dangling from a bridge to stop controversial oil drilling in the Arctic.
As the Arctic ice melts, oil companies like Shell want to look for new oil and gas deposits there.
But environmentalists have been carrying out an unusual protest action: Since Wednesday (29.07.2015), 13 activists are dangling themselves off the St. Johns Bridge over the Willamette River in Portland, in Oregon in the United States.
They’re calling for the protection of the Arctic, and protesting specifically against the icebreaker Fennica, which is planned for heading to the Arctic, after being repaired in Portland.
With supplies to last for several days, the climbers are physically preventing the ship from passing underneath the bridge. You can watch a livestream here.
The ship is part of a drilling fleet. Already on its way to the Arctic in early July, a breach in its hull forced it to turn back.
And now, the second attempt: the icebreaker has again embarked to support Shell on its quest to drill for oil in the Arctic.
“The US Government needs to finally pull the emergency brake and prohibit Shell’s drilling in the Arctic,” said Larissa Beumer, an Arctic expert from Greenpeace, in a statement.
The US government decided last week approved Shell’s oil exploration on Alaska’s coast. The icebreaker ship would be needed to allow the fleet to bore deeper holes that penetrate into oil-bearing layers.
An oil spill can occur at any time, shows a risk assessment of the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
“If Shell finds oil, there is a 75 percent probability of at least one serious accident during the exploration period,” Beumer said.
In recent days, even high-ranking US politicians, including Hillary Clinton and Al Gore, have expressed doubts on the safety of drilling for oil in the Arctic.
Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, together with five other US senators, have proposed a law that would ban Arctic oil drilling.
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