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Greenpeace occupies Finnish icebreakers contracted to Shell

Alaska Dispatch

According to Finland's YLE News, roughly 40 protestors have gathered in Helsinki's Hietalahti harbor and boarded two Finnish icebreakers booked to support Shell Oil's exploration next summer off Alaska's northern coast.

Protestors say they're conducting the occupation because they fear Arctic drilling operations could result in a catastrophic spill. They say the region lacks response infrastructure, the environment itself is difficult to clean up, and the icebreakers' crews are inadequately prepared to deal with a crisis.

Greenpeace activist Sini Saarela told YLE from deck of Fennica, ”If there is an accident happening and oil starts leaking out, there are really few possibilities to stop the leak, and the oil could be leaking out for weeks or months.”

The occupation of the icebreakers Fennica and Nordica, leased to Shell by Arctia Offshore Ltd., is the second protest action recently against equipment slated to participate in Shell's Beaufort and Chukchi project.

In February, Lucy Lawless, former star of the television show "Xena the Warrior Princess," and a group of protestors were arrested in New Zealand for occupying a drillship Shell plans to use in its Alaska project.

The latest action comes despite a March 1 restraining order issued against Greenpeace interfering with Shell's two Arctic-bound drillships, granted by Anchorage-based U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Gleason.

Read more at YLE, here.