'Paddle in Seattle' Arctic Oil Drilling Protest

'Paddle in Seattle' Arctic Oil Drilling Protest'Paddle in Seattle' Arctic Oil Drilling Protest

Hundreds of people in kayaks and small boats have staged a protest in the north-western US port city of Seattle against oil drilling in the Arctic by the Shell energy giant, BBC reported Sunday.

Paddle in Seattle was held by activists who said the firm's drilling would damage the environment. It comes after the first of Shell's two massive oil rigs arrived at the port. The firm wants to move them in the coming months to explore for oil off Alaska's northern coast. Earlier this week, Shell won conditional approval from the US Department of Interior for oil exploration in the Arctic.

The Anglo-Dutch company still must obtain permits from the federal government and the state of Alaska to begin drilling.

It says Arctic resources could be vital for supplying future energy needs. The flotilla of kayaks, canoes, sailboats and paddle boats gathered near the 400ft (122m) tall Polar Pioneer drilling rig. A solar-powered barge - The People's Platform - joined the protesters, who chanted slogans and also sang songs.

"Science is as clear as day when it comes to drilling in the Arctic - the only safe place for these dirty fuels is in the ground,'' Alli Harvey, Alaska representative for the Sierra Club's Our Wild America campaign, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

"This weekend is another opportunity for the people to demand that their voices be heard," Harvey added.

The protesters later gathered in formation and unveiled a big sign which read "Climate justice now".

The demonstrators are now planning to hold a day of peaceful civil disobedience on Monday in an attempt to shut down Shell operations in the port.

The port's Terminal 5 has been at the centre of a stand-off between environmentalists and the city authorities after a decision earlier this year to allow Shell use the terminal as a home base for the company's vessels and oil rigs.

Shell stopped Arctic exploration more than two years ago after problems including an oil rig fire and safety failures.

The company has spent about $6bn (£3.85bn) on exploration in the Arctic - a region estimated to have about 20% of the world's undiscovered oil and gas.

  Nigerian Oil Spill

Farmers impacted by the April 15 oil leak from Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, Kolo Creek oil fields in Otuasega, in Nigeria, have appealed to environmental right groups for legal assistance.

The farmers told News Agency of Nigeria in Otuasega on Sunday that they had decided to seek legal redress over damages they suffered from the incident.

They said that the appeal had become necessary because they wanted to recover the losses they sustained from the incident as it has impoverished them.

 “We are counting on the support of humanitarian organizations to help us to assemble a team of lawyers to take up our case on humanitarian grounds," Harriet Igbuasi, whose three banana farms were affected by the spill, said that they were unable to pay for the legal services required to pursue the matter.

 “We are unable to afford the cost of legal services to seek justice in the court. We would even want to also file a case on the issue in The Netherlands,” she said.

The farmers also appealed to the state government to assist them in prevailing on the oil firm to also compensate them. The Bayelsa Commissioner for Environment, Iniruo Wills, said that the state government would verify the reported exclusion of some impacted sites from the exercise.

Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited said the oil spill at its Kolo Creek Manifold in Bayelsa State was caused by sabotage of the facility. A report of the Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) on the incident, which occurred on April 15, 2015, revealed that a section of the metal protection to the manifold had been cut and components of the pressure control system removed, the company said in a statement.

"The volume of spilled oil was estimated at 27 barrels, affecting mainly the manifold grounds and part of the surrounding vegetation," the statements said.

Shell also signed an agreement earlier this month with Nigeria’s Bodo community to begin clean-up operations of two major oil spills from back in 2008. The Anglo-Dutch oil company had already agreed in January to pay out $84 million in settlements to the Bodo community for the devastating effects of the spill.