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Flotilla Opposing Deep Sea Oil Drilling Diverts Oil Giant's Seismic Testing

Monday 11 April 2011, 8:21AM

By Greenpeace Aotearoa

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Stop Deep Sea Oil flotilla
Stop Deep Sea Oil flotilla Credit: Malcolm Pullman
Inflatables with activists in front of the oil survey ship Orient Explorer
Inflatables with activists in front of the oil survey ship Orient Explorer Credit: Greenpeace Aotearoa

OPOTIKI

Today activists aboard the flotilla opposing deep sea oil drilling disrupts the seismic testing by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras. Swimmers with large visible buoys baring flags with the message ‘Stop Deep Sea Oil’ are entering the water in front of the oil survey ship Orient Explorer and diverting their ship off course.

Greenpeace New Zealand Climate Campaigner Vanessa Atkinson radioed the Captain of the Orient Explorer ahead of time and reminded him that six days ago he was requested to cease surveying activity and leave. The Captain confirmed he had received these messages.

The flotilla now comprises of the following vessels: Infinity, San Pietro, Secret Affair, Siome and Windbourne.

Rikirangi Gage, spokesperson for te Whanau a Apanui said, “Petrobras has no consent to be in these waters from te Whanau a Apanui. We’ve already told them that. This is not a protest. This is an act of defence of our ancestral lands and waters that have sustained us for generations. Te Whanau a Apanui want Petrobras to leave these waters and not return.”

Steve Abel, Greenpeace climate campaigner based in Auckland said, “If we don’t stop this initial deep sea oil exploration, rigs could be off coasts all around New Zealand in the near future, each one increasing the risk of spills and fuelling climate change as the oil is burnt. We are sending an emphatic message to the New Zealand Government that deep sea oil drilling will not be tolerated in New Zealand waters”.

“It is the Government who are endangering our coastline, our marine environment and our climate for the last drops of oil. At this moment they could be leading the way to a future with clean fuels and energy technology”, he said.

Te Whanau a Apanui’s fishing boat San Pietro is part of the flotilla, as a tribal representative, and also as a concerned member of New Zealand’s large fishing industry.