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Greenpeace delivers protest letter to seismic survey ship off Wairarapa coast

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Photo: Greenpeace via twitter

News from Greenpeace
Greenpeace crew have made contact with the world’s biggest seismic oil ship after travelling 50 nautical miles on two rigid-hulled inflatables off the coast of Wairarapa.

The boat crews, consisting of members from Greenpeace and local iwi, located the 125-metre seismic ship Amazon Warrior, searching for oil off the East Coast of New Zealand on behalf of oil giants Statoil and Chevron.

From on board one of the inflatables, Greenpeace campaigner Kate Simcock radioed the master of the Amazon Warrior to deliver an open letter of protest signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders.

Polynesian voyaging waka captain and East Coast resident Reuben Raihania Tipoki (Ngāti Kahungunu), also delivered a message on behalf of over 80 indigenous communities from the East Coast of New Zealand, demanding Statoil and Chevron cease activities in their customary waters.

Tipoki is a highly experienced captain, and his voyages have included captaining Okeanos for eight months during a 10,000 nautical mile journey from Fiji through Rotuma, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, to Palau.

Tipoki says it’s important to see first-hand what seismic blasting ships are doing in his iwi’s customary waters so he can bring the stories back to his community.

“The burning of fossil fuels is changing our world – we are changing our world. We are calling in Armageddon, and it will be destruction by our own hands,” he says.

“If we are to stem climate change, indigenous philosophies about how to fit in with nature and not expect nature to fit in with us must be re-adopted.”

The Amazon Warrior currently has two support vessels circling it, acting as guard dogs of its behemoth seismic array. They are the Ocean Pioneer, a New Zealand-owned fishing vessel often used as support by the oil industry; and the Maria G, a supply ship sent over from Panama.

From on board, Greenpeace climate campaigner, Kate Simcock, says the sheer size of the Amazon Warrior is “daunting”.

“This is one big beast and it’s eerie to see it out here roaming such a beautiful stretch of coastline. In order to find oil, it’s blasting sound waves into the ocean every 8 seconds, 24 hours a day, from massive arrays that are the length of 80 rugby fields,” she says.

The oil industry itself admits they are comparable in sound to an underwater volcano, so just imagine how distressing they must be for the dolphins and whales who live here.

“And this is all for the very oil that science says can’t be burned if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe. It’s a complete betrayal that our Government has invited this climate-wrecking machine to roam our unique coastlines.”

The crew is monitoring the Amazon Warrior and its support vessels throughout the day as they search for oil.

This will include taking underwater recordings of the seismic blasts that can deafen whales, and collecting data which will be fed through to scientists to measure the effects on marine life.

Earlier News from Greenpeace
Greenpeace New Zealand is on the tail of the biggest seismic surveying ship in the world as it blasts the sea floor in a search for deep sea oil, about 20 nautical miles off the coast of Wairarapa.

Early this morning, a team including members of Greenpeace and local iwi set out in two RHIBs to confront the 125-metre long seismic blasting ship, the Amazon Warrior, as it searches for oil off the East Coast on behalf of oil giants Statoil and Chevron.

Greenpeace climate campaigner Kate Simcock is on board one of the small boats and will deliver a message signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders.

“In order to find oil, this ship is blasting sound waves into the ocean every 8 seconds, 24 hours a day, from arrays that are the length of 80 rugby fields,” she says.

“This is the very oil that science says can’t be burned if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe.

“The oil industry describes the seismic blasts as comparable in sound to an underwater volcano. Just imagine how distressing it is for the dolphins and whales who live here.

“It’s a complete betrayal that our Government has invited this climate-wrecking beast to roam our unique coastlines.”

As the day progresses the crew will be monitoring the Amazon Warrior and its support vessels as they search for oil. This will include taking underwater recordings of the seismic blasts that can deafen whales, and collecting data which will be fed through to scientists to measure the effects on marine life.

Also on-board is Polynesian voyaging waka captain and East Coast resident, Reuben Raihania Tipoki (Ngāti Kahungunu). He will be delivering a message on behalf of 80 indigenous communities from the East Coast of New Zealand, calling on Statoil and Chevron to cease activities in their waters. Almost 14,000 New Zealanders have signed on to the letter.

Simcock says Greenpeace has had to make the 20-mile trip in inflatables to find the Amazon Warrior because it seems to have been avoiding coming into port since it arrived in New Zealand in November last year.

This includes illegally switching off its mandatory AIS tracking safety device for days on end throughout the November 14, 7.8 earthquake and tsunami threat, and having people and supplies delivered to it by boat and helicopter.

“The obligatory Marine Mammal Impact Assessment was also not published until we asked for it. These examples highlight why it’s more important than ever to have citizens monitoring this climate-killing industry – it’s clearly not being regulated well by the Government,” Simcock says. “This oil exploration machine may think it can avoid making land in New Zealand and do its dirty business out of sight and out of mind, but we want them to know they’re not safe from protest out on the ocean either.

“Our message to the Government and the oil industry is this: We will show New Zealanders how the blasting of our marine environment is causing distress to our unique whales and dolphins – all in the name of climate-wrecking oil. We will peacefully resist this beast until it leaves our waters”.

2 comments:

  1. Colin, 14. January 2017, 22:41

    What rubbish. The cables with sensors in are the huge array or spread as its correct name. The underwater guns will probably be six strings approx 12 meters long with around 10 to 14 guns on each. The facts are wrong on many counts just to make it all look bad. When you have seen the mammals swimming around the guns you will see they are not bothered by then. How do I know?? Been doing it for decades that’s how.

     
  2. CC, 15. January 2017, 10:42

    Colin, given that industry experts are sometimes found to hide behind pedantry to discredit critics, could you please clarify the following:
    Are the 72 metres securing up to 168 underwater guns that you refer to, the maximum that a vessel the size of the Amazon Warrior could possibly deploy?
    Is it feasible that the Amazon Warrior would carry a total of 8 km of cabling for hydrophones?
    What area would be subjected to seismic testing at any single point in time?