British Columbia

Greenpeace protesters confront Shell Arctic drilling rig off B.C. coast

Protests against Royal Dutch Shell's Arctic drilling program continued Wednesday, as the firm's drilling rig travelled past B.C. on its way to the Chukchi Sea, off the Alaskan coast.

Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig left Seattle Monday en route to offshore oil drilling in Alaska

Audrey Siegl, a Musqueam artist and activist who lives in Vancouver, stands in front of Royal Dutch Shell's Polar Pioneer drilling rig on its trip north to Alaska on Wednesday. (Keri Coles/Greenpeace)

Protests against Royal Dutch Shell's Arctic drilling program continued Wednesday, with Greenpeace activists confronting the drilling rig off the coast of B.C. on its trip north from Seattle, Wash.

First Nations activist Audrey Siegl, who lives in Vancouver, wore traditional Musqueam regalia while drumming in front of the 90-metre tall rig, according to photos and video provided by Greenpeace.

The Greenpeace video also showed swimmers in wetsuits, holding a protest sign that said "People vs. Oil," appearing close to the massive rig as it kept plowing through water about 40 nautical miles west of Vancouver Island.

The Polar Pioneer rig left Seattle Monday, despite efforts by two dozen protesters — including a Seattle city councillor — to block the drill rig from leaving port.

The protesters were temporarily detained by the U.S. Coast Guard and issued violation notices that carry fines.

In May, the U.S. government approved Shell's multi-year plan to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea, about 110 kilometres northwest of the village of Wainwright, Alaska, despite objections from environment groups and others.

Greenpeace activists swim near the drilling rig Polar Pioneer to protest Royal Dutch Shell's Arctic drilling program on Wednesday. (Tom Pursey/Greenpeace)

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