The following article was in the Waikato Times 18 July 2012 about Shell's very old drilling ship The Noble Discoverer. Lucy and the Taranaki 7 boarded this ship on 24 February in the longest running Greenpeace protest to date. They brought world wide media attention to Shell's plans to drill in the Arctic. You can read more on the AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Save The Arctic Support Page for more news, photos, video and other multimedia related to this protest.

screenshot_02Noble Discoverer Mishap Justifies Lawless Protest Waikato Times

The Waikato Times 18 July 2012

The Shell-chartered drilling ship that was the target of Greenpeace protests has struck trouble in Alaska.

Greenpeace says its protest against the Noble Discoverer has been justified by a near-miss involving the drilling ship in Alaska.

Stormy waters: Photo: Fairfax NZ

The controversy-plagued ship slipped its mooring and drifted perilously close to the shore in the Aleutian Islands on Monday.

Environmental campaigners are using it as the latest example of why there should be no exploration oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Circle.

Alaskan environmental organisations have been quick to point out the Noble Discoverer was involved in a similar incident when it was in New Zealand – its eight-anchor mooring system failed in a storm off Taranaki – and how it was the focus of Arctic drilling protest action at Port Taranaki by Greenpeace, involving Kiwi actress Lucy Lawless.

‘‘I’m concerned about the safety of the drilling operation if the rig can’t hold in place in the kinds of storms we can see in the Chukchi Sea, and the Bering Sea on the way up,’’ said Pamela Miller, of the Northern Alaska Environmental Centre.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner Simon Boxer said the latest Noble Discoverer incident once again justified February’s protest action at Port Taranaki.

‘‘We drew the world’s attention to the whole Arctic drilling programme – in Taranaki, we woke up the world,’’ he said.

‘‘And now this. This latest incident makes us even more worried that there will be problems if the drilling takes place.

‘‘We hope to God it doesn’t happen. There’s such a short weather window up there. Latest estimates are that if there was a well blowout there, the weather would mean it would take at least two years to bring it under control.’’

Witnesses say the 157-metre-long Shellchartered ship bumped into a beach in front of a big hotel overlooking Dutch Harbour, and lay stuck there for more than an hour before being towed to deeper water. Winds were gusting up to about 50kmh at the time.

The Noble Discoverer is part of a fleet poised to head north for exploratory drilling in the Arctic waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas.

Shell said an inspection of the hull showed no signs of damage.

See more on the AUSXIP Lucy Lawless Save The Arctic Support Page for more news, photos, video and other multimedia

See more of Lucy's role as an Eco-Warrior and Greenpeace Ambassador

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