Oil free seas flotilla meets Anadarko

BZZD1aWCUAA1sgA.jpg largeOver the last week I’ve been joining many Kiwis in keeping up with the updates of the Oil Free Seas Flotilla online. Ships began departing ports from around New Zealand last week and I was privileged to attend and speak at the Wellington send-off.

Since being cheered off by hundreds of New Zealanders, the flotilla has made it to the drill site off the West Coast of the North Island. Anadarko’s drilling ship the Noble Bob Douglas has also just arrived in the last few hours to drill New Zealand’s deepest ever oil well. The Vega is refusing to leave the drill site and the Anadarko Amendment may be enforced. The Oil Free Seas Flotilla Twitter account is a good place to get live updates.

While we wait to see the result of the conflict the crew members have also been posting interesting blog posts and videos to the internet. The Flotilla has been sharing their journey in video blogs and other updates every day or two. These updates are a remarkable opportunity to witness the continuing history of the deep-rooted New Zealand tradition of standing up to protect our country.

As just one example of the ties this Flotilla has to New Zealand’s history of peaceful protest, Daniel onboard the SV Vega in Video Blog Ten talks of the ship’s and his own long history of protest at sea. The Vega also sailed in protest against French nuclear testing in the Pacific. Peace flotillas set out year after year, from the early 1970’s until in 1995 the testing was brought to a halt. Anna Horne of the Flotilla was on board SV Vega in the 70’s too and says, “Nuclear testing in the Pacific wasn’t right and deep-sea oil drilling in the Tasman is not right either… We love New Zealand, and this country is what it is because kiwis have stood up for what we believe in.”

Bunny McDiarmid is onboard the SV Tiama and she also sailed on the original Rainbow Warrior. As she describes in this blog, at the spectacular site off the West Coast the crew are being visited by a remarkable array of wildlife including seabirds, sharks, seals and barracuda, whales breaching and wandering between their ships, and jellyfish particularly visible on clear nights in the moonlight. In Video Blog Nine you can also watch Bunny and Jeanette Fitzsimons aboard the SV Tiama being greeted as they reached the drilling site by a pod of whales.

The spot in the precious Tasman sea is a beautiful one, though in the latest Video Blog, Fourteen, Andy on the SV Balthazar reminds us they are really there to protect our seas and beaches for our future generations and prosperity. He says “It’s not just about New Zealand, it’s not just about this one spot. It’s about us as a planet, as a global community, and what we’re actually doing here is destroying these places, and we need to start thinking about a different way of sourcing our energy.”

The flotilla is sailing on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of us who want the message delivered to Anadarko that they are not welcome in New Zealand.

This Saturday the 23rd we can show our support on land, by joining Banners on the Beach at any one of our incredible West Coast beaches to send a message to stop deep sea oil drilling as the approaching drill-ship is confronted by the flotilla. Check out: http://www.getfree.org.nz/banners/ for more information

5 Comments Posted

  1. Celsius says it rather succinctly.


    “we know that the world can not even use all the oil that is already on the oil companies’ balance sheet without sending the world into massive warming.So this is a fuel that the world pays in terms of its own sustainability to use”.

    Note also that the nearest equipment capable of capping the well if there is a failure is in the US, and would take months to get here.

  2. “Bending over for the big oil companies was easy for Bridges whose National government regularly changes the law to suit the corporate sector – Warner Brothers and Skycity for example.

    Bridges probably thought the threat of huge fines and long terms of imprisonment would be enough to deter protests but kiwis are made of sterner stuff.

    While this ministerial prat was still in short pants New Zealanders took to the water against nuclear armed and nuclear powered warships in the 1980s to establish our now cherished nuclear free status.

    His National government was on the wrong side of history then just as he is on the wrong side of history now.

    Oil exploration in the face of climate change and environmental destruction is irresponsible madness. Students in the future will shake their heads at this reckless stupidity.”

    – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/11/20/kia-kaha-you-speak-for-me/#sthash.sJwGHLR3.dpuf

  3. Good on the protesters for reminding Anadarko that NOT all kiwis support their increasing efforts to find fossil fuel in deeper & deeper parts of the oceans !
    BUT in a energy hungry world.. we need to make serious alternatives available. I hear that Henry Ford (1940s) intended to develop a Hemp-based biofuel operation.. unfortunatley the WAR on the cannabis plant put a halt to it. BUT in these ‘more enlightened’ times.. maybe its time to revisit this ? Hemp takes months to grow & apparently is very easy to turn into METHANOL.

    kia ora koutou

  4. We have already got enough PROVEN reserves to cook the planet.

    Exploring for more is futile because we cannot actually afford to burn what we already have.

    Exploring for more in ever more risky places is even worse than futile.

    The price on the carbon that SHOULD exist, would stop this effort cold.


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