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Greenpeace occupies Alaska-bound icebreaker in Finland

Alaska Dispatch
Arctia Shipping photo

According to Bloomberg, 20 Greenpeace activists in Helsinki, Finland, have have occupied one of two Finnish icebreakers contracted to assist Royal Dutch Shell in its exploratory oil and gas project off Alaska's Arctic coast this summer.

It is the second time in more than a month that Greenpeace has protested Alaska-bound icebreakers at Helsinki's harbor.

The group boarded the Nordica on Tuesday morning. They locked themselves to the ship and hung banners from its side in protest of the drilling project it is contracted to support.

The aim of the protest, say organizers, is to prevent the start of drilling, which they say poses unacceptable risks to the environment.

“Oil companies know full well that an oil spill off the Alaskan coast would devastate the environment and prove impossible to clean up,” Greenpeace Campaign Manager Tapio Laakso said in a statement announcing the occupation.

The state-owned Nordica's sister ship, the Fennica, also contracted for the project, has already departed for Alaska.

Shell, which has spent billions securing leases and preparing for its Alaska drilling operation, was granted a restraining order from a US District Court against any ship or vessel interference from Greenpeace, and at the end of March, the order was extended through October.

Read more about the latest occupation from Bloomberg, here, and from Finland's YLE News, here. And see live streaming video of the Helsinki protest from Greenpeace, here.