Chiara D'Dangelo: Environmental activist spends three nights attached to anchor of Arctic Challenger

Activist wants to draw attention to controversial plan to drill for oil in Arctic Ocean

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The Independent US

A female activist has spent three nights suspended from the anchor of a ship that is to be used in a controversial operation to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean.

Chiara D’Angelo, 20, attached herself to the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger on Friday night, saying she wanted to draw attention to ship's role in the drilling operation.

Royal Dutch Shell intends to use the ship as a support vessel when it carries out exploratory drilling in the Chukchi Sea, off northwestern Alaska, this summer.

 

The plan – recently given the green light by the Obama administration – has sparked large protests in Seattle, where a huge floating drill rig is being readied for the operation.

The Associated Press said that a second protester, Matt Fuller, had joined Ms D’Angelo on Saturday morning but had then asked coast guard officials to help him get off on Sunday. He said he only had a harness to hold onto the anchor.

On Monday, Ms D’Angelo’s mother, Debra D'Angelo, told The Independent that her daughter had climbed down from the anchor having spent 66 hours there.

"She is surrounded by very strong people and her spirits are high," she said.

"It just amazes me that human beings can stand up in this manner."

 

Shell insisted that the protesters would not delay its plans to start drilling for oil.

“We respect the rights of individuals to express their views related to our Arctic programme, so long as they do so safely and lawfully,’’ said a spokesman.

‘‘It’s unfortunate these few chose to compromise their safety and the safety of others while trespassing on private property. We appreciate the professionalism of the US Coast Guard and local law enforcement in de-escalating this incident.’’

The Arctic Challenger is a converted barge that is designed to launch containment equipment in the event of a spill. Protesters have questioned its ability to be effective in the harsh and remote Arctic location.

Earlier this month, hundreds of activists in kayaks filled Elliott Bay in Seattle to protest Shell’s plans. Over the weekend, protesters also used kayaks to paddle out as close as they could to Ms D’Angelo in an act of solidarity.

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