SYDNEY – Greenpeace activists chained themselves on Wednesday to the supply ship of an oil exploration vessel in the Taranaki port in New Zealand’s North Island, to stop the ship from producing seismic waves through blasts in the seabed that they say have been adversely impacting the environment and marine life.
The resupply ship, Mermaid Searcher, was docked in the port of Taranaki to stock up for Amazon Warrior, a giant 125-meters long ship, which is exploring New Zealand’s oceanic depths for oil on behalf of various petroleum companies.
“By stopping the resupply vessel, we’re impacting the Amazon Warrior’s search for oil and gas in New Zealand’s pristine ocean,” said Amanda Larsson, head of the nonprofit’s New Zealand climate campaign.
The environmental NGO said the Amazon Warrior have been blasting thousands of square kilometers of the New Zealand seabed “in search of oil and gas that are fueling climate change” and also interfering with the communication and food systems of blue whales and other marine life.
According to news website Stuff, New Zealand police arrested four activists – while one activist remained chained to the highest part of the ship – and might charge them under the “Anadarko Amendment” of 2013, that criminalizes interference with oil exploration in the sea.
Cameron Madgwick, executive director of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand, said the protest was disappointing and unjust to the staff of the ship.
“They should respect the rights of others to go about their lawful business,” he said in a statement.
In 2017, many environmentalists, including the executive director of Greenpeace New Zealand, Russel Normon, swam in front of Amazon Warrior – while it was exploring for oil – close to the Wairapa coast in the North Island aiming to stop seismic blasting.