Safety Zone; Arctic Drilling and Support Vessels, Puget Sound, WA
Coast Guard, 33 CFR Part 165, 22 June 2012 (hat tip NC via Cryptome.org)
B. Basis and Purpose
In June 2011, Greenpeace protesters illegally boarded Cairn Energy's drilling platform off Greenland. Greenpeace has identified that both Shell and British Petroleum are possible future targets in 2012 and 2013. On February 16, 2012, the environmental advocacy organization Alaska Wilderness League made local inquiries and chartered a vessel to observe the mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) KULLUK, which is currently undergoing retro-fit at Vigor shipyard in Seattle. On February 26, 2012, actress Lucy Lawless and six Greenpeace activists illegally boarded the drilling vessel NOBLE DISCOVERER in New Zealand. On March 16 2012, Greenpeace activists boarded the Finnish icebreaker FENNICA, a Shell-contracted vessel, and hung banners from the vessel's cranes. On May 1-4, 2012, Greenpeace activists conducted multi-faceted direct action operations aimed at delaying the transit of the Finnish icebreaker NORDICA, a Shell-contracted vessel. Activists boarded the vessel while moored, blocked the vessel with kayaks and swimmers as it got underway, and boarded the vessel while underway at sea via small boats. Further on 31 May 2012, the Greenpeace motor vessel ESPERANZA entered Elliott Bay. While the Coast Guard respect the First Amendment rights of protesters, it is clear that certain unlawful protest activity poses a danger to the life and safety of protesters, target vessels, and other legitimate waterway users. The Coast Guard must take swift action to prevent such harm.
The following vessels associated with exploratory drilling in the Arctic may be transiting into, out of, or around the Sector Puget Sound Captain of the Port (COTP) Zone from now until August 1st 2012: NOBLE DISCOVERER, KULLUK, NORDICA, FENNICA, TOISA DAUNTLESS, TOR VIKING II, HARVEY EXPLORER, HARVEY SPIRIT, HARVY SISUAQ, AIVIQ, NANUQ, GUARDSMAN, KALMATH, ARCTIC CHALLENGER, Z BIG 1, LAUREN FOSS, CORBIN FOSS, ARCTIC ENDEAVOR, POINT OLIKTOK and any towing vessel actively engaged in the towing or escorting of these vessels. Based on a recent history of unsafe demonstration tactics and vessel boardings of some of these vessels in New Zealand and Finland within the past six months, the Coast Guard finds it necessary to establish this temporary safety zone in order to allow for safe and lawful on-water protests without endangering the lives or safety of any person or vessel, and to keep the waterways unrestricted to all legitimate users.
It is fairly obvious that Greenpeace is looked at very closely.Persons or vessels positioned in the path of the specified vessels, all of which are extremely large, and many of which transit with tow or tug assistance, would present an extremely hazardous situation. Named vessels could be forced to deviate from their routes into more shallow water, out of an established traffic scheme or International Maritime Organization established Traffic Separation Scheme, or into otherwise unsafe conditions. This could create a hazardous situation where the aforementioned vessels would be at risk of collision or grounding or break down the good order and predictability of vessel traffic flow in the Vessel Traffic Service area of operations. Additionally, persons in the water and small vessels coming within 500 yards of one of the oncoming named vessels may be injured or killed in a collision, especially since the larger of the named vessels, including those vessels in tow, may be unable to see such persons or small vessels, and would not be able to stop, reduce speed, or turn quickly enough to avoid a collision. In addition, blocking of the waterway or portions of the waterway, and maneuvering close to large vessels underway could expose other legitimate waterway users to similar risks of grounding or collision, and expose persons or vessels engaged in such tactics to collisions with other waterway users. This risk is exacerbated by areas of congestion within the Puget Sound COTP Zone. Tacoma and Seattle together comprise the 3rd largest container ship port in the United States. In addition, the Puget Sound COTP Zone has the largest ferry system in the United States. As such, persons and small vessels in Puget Sound must contend with numerous large container ships and ferries transiting Puget Sound, in addition to other waterway users such as recreational vessels, construction vessels, public vessels, and others
You could almost argue that this is a war of apocalyptic camps, the big oil division of peak oil, and the eco-warrior defenders of the pristine.