Supporters wave to SV Tiama (left) and Erewhon as the
yachts sail past Ravensbourne on Saturday. Photo by Peter
Two Oil Free Otago flotilla yachts came ''face to face''
with Anadarko's drill ship last night and delivered a protest
message, Oil Free Otago said in a statement last night.
At 8pm, SV Tiama and Erewhon ''occupied'' the
intended drill site, about 60km off the coast, while
observing the 500m legal exclusion zone around the drill ship
Noble Bob Douglas. They are expected to return this
morning to the Birch St wharf.
''Via radio, the Otago community leaders on board the SV
Tiama voiced their opposition to the drilling plans to
the captain of the drill ship as it approached.
''Each person spoke to their area of expertise, ranging from
climate change to concerns for fisheries, but all came
together to share a common message - stop deep-sea drilling
off our coast,'' the statement said.
The Rev Dr Peter Matheson told the captain of the ship:
''Anadarko's actions are criminally irresponsible, and, from
my religious perspective, structurally sinful. There will be
no blessing upon them.''
Asked what the short trip achieved, group spokesman Dwayne
Daly told the Otago Daily Times the flotilla delivered
the message that many local people opposed the exploration.
The group had no interest in obstructing the drill ship's
work, and Mr Daly did not see any point in staying longer
''I don't think there's a great deal of point in staying out
there for days on end,'' Mr Daly said.
The flotilla, including a third yacht, Evohe, was farewelled
from Birch St wharf on Saturday by about 50 people. Many
cheered the flotilla, calling out messages of support, but a
few people jeered at the protesters.
Anadarko New Zealand manager Alan Seay declined to comment
when contacted last night.