'David and Goliath' quest

David killed Goliath, and the Oil Free Otago flotilla set to sail tonight can stop the Anadarko drill ship, the Rev Peter Matheson says.

Mr Matheson (75) said he would be aboard the lead flotilla yacht SV Tiama when it left Dunedin tonight to confront the Anadarko drill ship Noble Bob Douglas at the drill site 65km from Taiaroa Head.

Although confronting the drill ship of an oil giant on a small yacht was as ridiculous as David fighting Goliath, the outcome could be similar, Mr Matheson said.

''Anyone remember who won?''A similar fight was won by anti-nuclear protesters in the 1980s, he said.

Also set to board SV Tiama is Bob Lloyd, associate professor and director of energy studies at the University of Otago physics department. Prof Lloyd (65) said he would ask the drill ship crew, via radio on the protest yacht, to halt its New Zealand drilling operations.

He would ask they stop their search and focus on discovering renewable energy, such as solar panels and wind turbines.

But the money to be made would make their hearing selective, he predicted.

''The amount of oil, gas and coal in the ground is worth around $100 trillion to $200 trillion. That's a lot of vested interest.''

Oil Free Otago spokeswoman Niamh O'Flynn said Noble Bob Douglas was expected to arrive in Otago to drill this weekend.

The boats in the flotilla include SV Tiama, skippered by Henk Haazen, and Erewhon, skippered by Invercargill teacher Carlos Legaz.

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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