#ShellNO kayaktivists on Saturday
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  • #ShellNO kayaktivists on Saturday

Kayaktivists and protesters are at Cathedral Park, waiting for the soon-to-be departing Fennica—a damaged Shell Oil ice breaker ship being repaired in Portland—to ship out.

Daphne Wysham with the Center for Sustainable Economy says the group is will hold a vigil and plans to try to keep the Fennica from leaving port to head back to the Arctic, where it would commence exploration for oil drilling.

“Scientists tell us we can’t drill in the Arctic if we want to avoid dangerous climate change and sea level rise that threatens three-quarters of the Earth’s major cities in the next few decades," Wysham wrote in a news release. "Nevertheless, Shell is putting its corporate profits ahead of the future of the planet and preparing to drill in a region where an oil spill cannot be cleaned up. Portland kayaktivists are the last phalanx of resistance to this insanity."

The U.S. Department of Interior says there is a 75 percent chance of an oil spill in the Arctic once drilling commences, a spill which experts say would be virtually impossible to clean up, posing unacceptable risks to indigenous peoples and the marine environment. Shell is proposing to commence drilling in this untouched region—thanks to rapidly melting ice in the Arctic due to climate change— at a time when NASA’s former top climate scientist says we may see at least 10 feet of sea level rise by 2050.

"In Portland and across the Northwest, we have the unique opportunity and responsibility to act as a chokepoint in the transport of dirty coal, oil, and gas. For years, Portland has demonstrated powerful resistance to the shipping of coal and oil by rail, as well as tar sands mining equipment by road," says Meredith Cocks of Portland Rising Tide. "We view the arrival of Shell's icebreaker in Portland as another chance to disrupt new oil development and demonstrate that any and all new fossil fuel exploration and extraction is an unacceptable risk to our climate and future."

The Coast Guard before the ship's arrival designated a barrier area around the ice breaker, and encouraged protestors to stay between the public boat ramp, North Ensign Street, and Vigor Industrial.