2 activists attach themselves to Shell ship in Washington

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Two activists suspended themselves early Friday from the anchor chain of a Royal Dutch Shell support ship docked north of Seattle to protest the petroleum giant's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean.

The protesters sitting in cloth slings attached themselves around 3:30 a.m. to the anchor chain of the American Trader at the Bellingham harbor. A spokeswoman for the group says they are comfortable, in good spirits and excited to be there.

The oil company's proposal also has drawn large protests in Seattle, where a drill rig is being prepared to explore for oil off Alaska this summer.

Sawyer Joy and Erika Osland, both students at Western Washington University, say they are trying to raise awareness about the hazards of Arctic drilling and climate change.

"People need to step up and put a stop to this madness," Osland said in a statement. "If not us, who? If not now, when?"

The Coast Guard has confirmed the activists' presence and has taken no action to remove them.

Friday's action comes after two other protesters attached themselves to a different Shell support ship late last month for the better part of a weekend. They voluntarily left their perch with the help of the Coast Guard after days aboard.

The agency has initiated penalties against some protesters over violating the 100-yard safety zone around the Arctic Challenger.

The Coast Guard became aware of Friday's situation just before 5 a.m., Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Norcross said. The agency and the local police are monitoring the activists.