Oil protest skipper in court the same day as Rena crew, while oil washes up at Te Kaha

Thursday 20 October 2011, 8:47AM
By Greenpeace New Zealand


The skipper of the te Whānau-ā-Apanui-owned fishing boat the San Pietro, which took part in the Stop Deep Sea Oil Flotilla earlier this year, appeared in the same court in Tauranga this morning as the Rena’s Captain and Second Officer, who have been charged with the same offences.
The charge of Dangerous Activity Involving a Ship, under section 65 of the Maritime Transport Act, and of resisting arrest, under the Summary Offences Act, came after Teddy’s arrest in April. The Te Whānau-ā-Apanui fishing crew had set their nets in front of a Petrobras-contracted oil survey ship, telling them they weren’t welcome and that: “We will not be moving … we will be doing some fishing”.

Teddy’s case has been adjourned, because of a lack of disclosure by the Crown.

“Elvis has reportedly been charged with the same offence as the Rena’s Captain and Second Officer, but Elvis was trying to prevent deep sea oil drilling, spilling, and killing of our coastline. Those running the Rena caused what we have tried to prevent,” says Dayle Takitimu, spokesperson for te Whānau-ā-Apanui. “This is exactly what the Government promised couldn’t happen and they need to be called to account”.

Teddy’s appearance came as oil from the Rena washes up in the heart of te Whānau-ā-Apanui’s coastal area at Te Kaha and Waihau Bay, made famous in the movie ‘Boy.’

“Oil spills, whether from the Rena or from a deep sea oil well, are a threat both to te Whānau-ā-Apanui’s way of life, and to the way of life of all people up and down this coast,” says Takitimu. “We must all take a stand to prevent the unnecessary risk of deep sea oil drilling.”

Nathan Argent, Greenpeace NZ Climate Campaigner, says that: “The Rena spill is a warning to us all of how difficult it is to deal with even a small oil spill. As serious as the Rena spill is, a Gulf of Mexico-type blowout from a Petrobras deep water exploratory rig in the Raukumara Basin, would be far worse. The Deepwater Horizon spilt 682,000 metric tonnes of oil, before it was plugged. The Rena has so far spilt an estimated 350 tonnes.”

While BP’s exploratory rig was operating in 1500 metres of water, Petrobras surveyed down to depths of 3100 metres – a depth that the company’s permit allows it to drill its exploratory wells in.

At most, a diver could only descend to 200 metres to fix a problem with a well.

“While Greenpeace are among those helping remove oil from the Bay of Plenty coastline, it has to be acknowledged that a real ‘clean-up,’ in the sense of recovering all the oil and returning beaches to the way they were, is impossible. Mitigation is all that can be done once oil enters the water, regardless of however many regulations, or whatever equipment, may or may not be on hand,” Argent says.

“Prevention is the best way to stop a spill, and that means putting a stop to plans for deep sea oil drilling off New Zealand’s shores,” Argent says.