Independent Media Centre Ireland

The Pirates of Broadhaven Defeat Shell’s Armada.

category mayo | environment | feature author Saturday June 06, 2009 11:59author by The Irish Flotilla

The Rossport Solidarity Camp kayak crew has done it again - now recruiting: get your arse to Mayo!

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Shell: "Do you have no jobs to go to?"
Community: "This is our occupation!"

For the second time in three days a Shell dredger has been boarded and occupied by a Shell to Sea protester. As a result all the ships working in the bay have ceased work and returned to harbour. Reports confirm that work has been abandoned due to the action of the protesters!

A group of 11 kayakers set out at 5:30am on Friday, meeting instant resistance on the water from Shell security boats and safety boats. After avoiding the Shell private security boats that were attempting to capsize the kayaks, one protester managed to board the dredger ‘Rezende Bol’ owned by Van Oord, who is subcontracted by Shell to do the dredging. This vessel along with another and multiple support and security boats were digging a trench in the seabed in preparation for the gas pipe-laying ship Solitaire. Work in the bay has been continuous 24 hours a day since Monday evening only stopping due to the previous dredger occupation by Shell to Sea protesters which lasted 10 hours. During the attempts to board the dredger several protesters were able to climb onto the side of the vessel. Excessive force was used to prevent them from boarding; one protester had his thumb bent backwards by a security guard and later was taken to the hospital where tests revealed damaged ligaments. Another protester who got on board the ship was violently pushed from the deck by two security guards injuring his back, and fell over six feet from the deck into the water. Shell security were kicking and stamping fingers of protesters on the near side of the vessel, all the while one protester managed to board the ship on the other side and climb up onto the same crane his friends had previously occupied just three days earlier.

The kayak support team prepared for similar shifts as Tuesday, anticipating a long-term occupation. Four kayakers remained on the water to keep an eye on the protester while the rest went in to regain energy. The reaction of the security and safety boats was very hostile, attempting to capsize kayaks and separate people from each other. The driver of the Galltee (Shell’s private security boat) repeated his threat to sink kayaks, driving extremely aggressively with no regard for the safety of the kayakers.

After the dredgers were towed away, the Garda arrived and boarded the ship in addition to the Shell security already on the ship. They threatened the protester on the crane arm with forced physical removal. Fearing for his own safety the protester jumped from the dredger arm onto the deck and dived into the water. The two supporting kayakers who were still in the water were arrested despite their efforts to comply with the Gardai’s instructions. In the water the crane protester managed to avoid capture by the Gardai and Shell security and get to the shore where he scaled a cliff to evade capture. His whereabouts are now unknown but he is safe and well!

Shell claimed that they stopped working in the bay due to a ‘swell’ but sources at Ballyglass pier confirmed that Van Oord, the subcontractor running the dredgers were unwilling to work with ongoing protest activity and the excessive use of force by the IRMS (Integrated Risk Management Services) .

Today's actions are proof that resistance rocks!

Come to Mayo!




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