Channel 3 News New Zealand: Anti-Anadarko flotilla sets sail

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Monday 11 Nov 2013 6:16a.m.

By 3 News online staff

A flotilla of protestors campaigning against Anadarko’s offshore oil drilling plans will set out today, and organisers aren’t promising they won’t breach legally protected zones around drilling vessels.

Boats will leave Auckland and Kaikoura at midday as part of the Oil Free Seas Flotilla to head to a proposed drilling site.

The Nobel Bob Douglas, a newly-commissioned drilling ship currently carrying out exploratory drilling, is positioned at the site 110 nautical miles west of Raglan. “Nuclear testing in the Pacific wasn’t right and deep-sea oil drilling in the Tasman is not right either. We will not be bullied into submission by big oil or dubious laws,” says spokesperson Anna Horne.

“We’ve got six fantastic boats, great skippers and crew, who are going to go out for as long as it takes to get the message across to Anadarko directly, and also to make it clear to the Government that it’s not a popular thing.”

Anadarko is due to begin drilling for oil at the site later this month. Vessels from the Bay of Islands and Wellington will depart for the site later this week.

The flotilla could be the first test of legislation passed earlier this year which bans aspects of protesting at sea. That law states it is illegal to interfere with any structure or ship that is in an offshore area that is to be used in mining activities, with an exclusion zone of 500 metres.

However members of the group say they do not anticipate violating the exclusion zone.”Safety is paramount in our minds – we wouldn’t do anything to risk a spill,” says Ms Horne. “We are just determined with our banners and a peaceful presence, to show that these things don’t go unnoticed.”

She says it’s too early to say whether the group will or won’t deliberately breach the 500m exclusion zone. “We are committed to peaceful non-violent protest, and we are absolutely mindful of the law┼á we’re used to acting within those international laws of the sea.”

One of the ships involved in the flotilla, the Vega, was also involved in a flotilla protesting against French nuclear testing in the Pacific.

3 News

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Special thanks to Richard Charter

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