Activists hit the water at 4am this morning in an attempt to stop or slow down Shell’s Arctic drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer as it moved through Elliott Bay. Over 30 kayaks could be seen maneuvering through the choppy water as they gauged the 500 yard “safety zone”, a change from the previous 100 yard zone, pushed through by Shell with an injunction to prevent protestors from stopping the vessel. As the rig began to move, the U.S. Coast Guard began pulling activists and kayaks out of the water and they infringed upon the safety zone. Kayaktivists were given several warnings to disperse by the Coast Guard as they pulled a banner across the mouth of the Duwamish River, only to have it seized by Port of Seattle Harbor Police. KOMO news is reporting 24 activists were pulled from the water and detained by the Coast Guard, including Seattle City Council member Mike O’Brien. One native canoe continued the chase until the Foss tugs pulling the Arctic drilling rig picked up speed and kayaks and canoes could no longer keep up. Activists have vowed to continue the blockade at Bainbridge Island and Port Townsend.
According to one kayaktivist detained by the Coast Guard, Carlo Voli, all activists have been released and their kayaks returned. A decision is currently being made on whether to accept the $250 fine, or contest the charges in court.
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