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Rammed, Dunked, Arrested – Shell to Sea Flotilla take on Shell’s Thug Fleet in Sunset Action
The Shell to Sea Flotilla took to the waves in Broadhaven Bay this evening towards sunset in an attempt to foil winching preparations in advance of the pipe-laying ship the Solitaire’s arrival possibly sometime soon. The intrepid S2S Flotilla were opposed in their mission by Shell’s fleet of security mercenaries, Gardaí, and the Irish Naval service, which were deployed in overwhelming numbers and in an aggressive, deliberately un-safety-conscious manner. Seven S2S marine protestors were arrested and taken to Belmullet Garda station. In a simultaneous action at the gates of the Shell Glengad compound a local man was arrested and taken to Belmullet Garda station. An earlier marine S2S sortie successfully held up shore-based dredging operations in the Glengad compound this afternoon for about two hours; there were no arrests that time.
This evening’s S2S marine action was launched in response to the arrival of the winching platform being towed into position and being made ready. As a prelude to operations, a delegation of five people in four kayaks went forth to the Shell Fleet to attempt a parley. The Shell side were insincere in their parley for they immediately commenced offensive operations against the S2S Flotilla delegation. After being harassed by nearly all of Shell’s vessels, the delegation made it back to shore and the Solidarity Camp, where it was decided to go out and attempt action against winching preparations.
The following list is of the S2S Flotilla vessels deployed (list includes vessel type, squadron and name). Vessels are grouped by condition at end of action. List of losses may not be complete at time of posting.
S2S Fleet vessels committed
Kayak the Niamh Cinn Óir from the Fianna Squadron
Kayak the Maedbh from the Emerald Squadron
Dinghy the Michael Davitt from the Mayo Squadron
Kayak the Robin Hood from the Sherwood Squadron
Dinghy the Hypatia from the Freedom Squadron
Dinghy/Kayak as yet unidentified
Dinghy the Twn-Sion Cati from the Freedom Squadron
Dinghies the Ronnie Drew and Luke Kelly
Dinghy the William Wallace
Dinghy the Florence Nightingale.
Overall number of S2S activists in action – 11 in 10 boats total (kayaks and dinghies)
Opposed to the S2S fleet were the following:
2 Irish Navy ribs with 1 Garda on board each
3 Garda 21-foot ribs
3 Garda inflatable vessels
5 Shell Security boats with 1 Garda on board each
1 Shell War-Boat the Aoife
All above vessels with exception of Shell War-Boat were equipped with powerful outboard engines.
Estimated number of Shell personnel (Shell’s own, Garda, Irish Navy) deployed against S2S Fleet – min. 60, of all types. Number of land-based Gardaí - min. 30.
During this action all of the S2S Fleet were rammed by Garda or Shell boats, with the exception of the S2S safety boat which was threatened with ramming by the Gardaí boats before she withdrew. All of Shell’s ‘safety’ boats had Garda personnel on board, thereby invalidating their ‘safety boat’ status and declaring themselves as hostile. S2S attempts at parley were met with insincerity, since offensive operation against the S2S parley team almost immediately. Gardaí operated during this action with flagrant disregard for their own safety as well as that of protestors. Land-based participants in this action experienced rough treatment from Gardaí near the Shell compound.
It appears that Irish Navy personnel deployed on Irish Navy ribs were under orders not to communicate whatsoever with S2S activists. All attempts by S2S marine activists to speak with Navy personnel were met with silence.
Meanwhile, at the Shell Glengad compound gates the indomitable Shell to Sea local campaigner Maura Harrington and her brother Martin maintained a vehicular blockade for nearly two hours. Near the end of the action Martin was arrested and taken to Belmullet Garda station. A request from Maura to have a doctor called to attend to Martin in the station was denied by the Gardaí.
All arrestees bar one S2S marine activist have been released from Garda custody at time of posting
Report and photos of the afternoon action will be posted later today, due to time constraints.