Dunedin

Press Release: Otago Flotilla Comes Face to Face with Anadarko Drillship

Oil Free Seas Flotilla, Oil Free Otago

Noble Bob Douglas and SV Baltazar off Raglan coast 2013

At 8:00 this evening, the Oil Free Otago Flotilla came face to face with Anadarko’s drillship, the Noble Bob Douglas. The yachts of the flotilla occupied the site where the Noble Bob Douglas intends to drill its exploratory well. Via radio, the Otago community leaders on board SV Tiama, voiced their opposition to the drilling plans to the captain of the drillship as it approached. The spokespeople represented a range of different groups within the Otago community. 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.

“My responsibility as Kaitiaki is to protect and enhance our Taonga. It’s not just about now, it’s about the future,” said Brendan Flack, Tangata Tiaki.

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.”Professor of physics, Bob Lloyd, addressed the issue of climate change, and stressed that “we simply cannot go after unconventional fossil fuels, such as deep sea oil and gas, if we are to stay below the 2 degree warming limit.”. Torea Scott-Fyfe represented the youth in her call for Anadarko to abandon their drilling plans “to allow us to have a liveable future.”

The flotilla now intends to return back to Otago to bring their fight back to land. “This fight is not over. No matter how many closed-door meetings you have, or how far out to sea you go, we will be there every step of the way to oppose deep sea drilling,” said Niamh O’Flynn, spokesperson for Oil Free Otago.

Photos and Video from the flotilla coming soon.

Press Release – Otago community leaders set sail in protest of deep sea drilling

7 February 2014

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Otago community leaders set sail in protest of deep sea drilling

This weekend, the Oil Free Otago Flotilla will depart from Dunedin to confront Anadarko’s drillship, the Noble Bob Douglas, 35 nautical miles off Taiaroa Head. The flotilla comprises of three yachts from around Otago and Southland.

Otago community leaders will be on board the lead yacht, Tiama, including Rev. Dr Peter Matheson, and Physicist, Professor Bob Lloyd.

The Flotilla will communicate directly with the drillship requesting that Anadarko halt their drilling operations in New Zealand. Each community leader will outline their reasons for opposing the impending drilling.

“This group of local leaders are here to protect our city, our climate, economy and coastlines from deep sea drilling. Dunedin has the expertise and the capacity to be at the forefront of clean, innovative energy solutions, and that’s what we should be focusing on instead of risky deep sea drilling”, said Oil Free Otago spokesperson, Niamh O’Flynn.

Brendon Flack, Tangata Kaitiaki said “’Our responsibility as kaitiaki is to protect and enhance all of our taonga. It’s not about us, it’s about the future, and if we want a better future oil and gas exploration is not the answer. Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei. For us and those after us.”

The Noble Bob Douglas has just completed their drilling program 110 nautical miles off the coast of Raglan and are expected to arrive in Otago sometime over the next three days to drill in the Canterbury Basin. This will be their second deep sea exploratory well in New Zealand. Exploratory drilling is the riskiest stage of drilling.

“Unless the public protest the insanity of putting ever more carbon into the atmosphere we will be headed into a world that will be radically different from the one we now occupy and one that I personally don’t want to  happen,” said Professor Bob Lloyd.

Reverend Peter Matheson said, “Some issues are too serious to be solemn about.Taking to sea against Deep Sea Oil Drilling is as ridiculous as David fronting up to Goliath. Anyone remember who won, by the way?”

The boats taking part in the flotilla include Tiama, skippered by Henk Haazen,  and Erehwon, skippered by Invercargill teacher, Carlos Legaz.

The flotilla will set sail on Saturday from Dunedin Harbour.

What gift horse?

Clean Green NZ?

by Rosemary Penwarden
Published in The Star

http://digital.thestar.co.nz/olive/ode/str_daily/

“Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” was one of my mother’s favourite sayings, a swift reminder of our luck. My mother was our family’s undisputed gift horse. MP Michael Woodhouse thinks Anadarko and Shell are Dunedin’s gift horses. In his recent “MP’s View” he reminds us of our collective luck to have these oil giants circling Otago’s deep oceans.

Mr Woodhouse asked deep sea drilling opponents five questions, admitting that some might consider them facetious but asking them nevertheless. Such dedication to one’s constituents deserves a considered response.

Why do opponents continue to refer to “oil exploration” when they know that if viable deposits are found it will be gas not oil?

Mr Woodhouse may know more than the oil companies, who can’t yet tell what’s in the Canterbury and Great South Basins. We must accept the claim that gas is more likely than oil, but the companies don’t rule out oil, as Mr Woodhouse appears to.

In a Dunedin meeting last year Shell emphasised the benefits of gas as a “green” fossil fuel, but when asked if they would therefore leave any discovered oil in the ground, answered that since they are a profit-making corporation, of course they would be pleased to strike oil. It would, after all, provide a much easier and larger profit than gas.

As for gas being “green”, burning gas releases about 75% the greenhouse gas emissions of crude oil, doing the same damage to the climate in four years that oil does in three. Gas is like the low tar cigarette version of fossil fuels – takes a bit longer but has the same effect in the end.

Is it [Oil Free Otago] opposed to deep sea drilling, any sea drilling, or any drilling whatsoever?

Human-induced climate change is a fact, as Mr Woodhouse appreciates. Of course we can’t suddenly stop using fossil fuels tomorrow. But to delay the transition in a wilfully blind dismissal of reality is only narrowing our grandchildren’s chances of survival.

Opponents of deep sea drilling are choosing to respond to the science. We want progress, using the fossil fuels we can safely use, keeping within the two degree limit of global warming agreed to by the world’s governments, to build a low carbon future.

How does it [Oil Free Otago] reconcile its protest last weekend with the use during the protest of fossil fuel-powered vehicles, petrochemical product-produced kayaks, wetsuits, oars, life jackets and other technologies that re the product of oil and gas extraction?

The argument that it is hypocritical for deep sea drilling opponents to use fossil fuel products diverts us from useful discussion. We all live in the same world. It’s a world that has been maxing out on cheap fossil fuel energy to the point where a limit is now making its presence felt from the Australian tennis open to California’s driest year on record.

While many Oil Free Otago members choose to cycle, drive electric cars and grow our own food, Mr Woodhouse’s government’s policies make a mockery of individual attempts to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The emissions trading scheme (ETS) invites the country’s largest polluters to use the atmosphere as a free carbon sewer. Fugitive methane emissions from a newly discovered gas well in the Canterbury Basin would cancel out all the individual emissions reductions of the ‘greenest’ Dunedin residents in one foul swoop.

Oil Free Otago members are calling for change. In the meantime we will happily make use of all fossil-fuel tools and products at our disposal in our opposition deep sea drilling.

How does it [Oil Free Otago] reconcile Green MP Gareth Hughes flying around the country in fossil fuel-powered airplanes protesting against the very thing he relies on to articulate his message?

Until government and policymakers take climate change seriously, beginning with transferring the $46 million subsidy from the fossil fuel industry into clean tech industries, put a realistic price on carbon and begin the other changes needed for a low carbon future, there can be no better use of fossil fuels than to fly Gareth Hughes around the country building the movement against deep sea drilling. Far better that Gareth takes the seat than an oil executive.

What is unethical about a product that the whole world relies on for its social and economic prosperity and is vital for developing countries to grow?

My first suggestion is for church-goers to attend an Anglican service, and discuss with their Anglican colleagues the reason for their decision to divest from fossil fuels. Learn why we have a moral duty to preserve the planet, not only for future generations but for all of creation. If that’s not your thing, try looking at the hard economic facts surrounding the “carbon bubble” and why it is economically irresponsible to invest in fossil fuels long term.

To continue digging up and burning oil, gas and coal in the way Mr Woodhouse’s government intends is to condemn the next generations to an unsurvivable future. Those in developing countries stand to suffer more than us. Unfair but true.

Some of us want to make damn sure our back yard is not contributing to that unsurvivable future. There’s a hell of a lot of work to be done, jobs to be had and money to be made building solutions instead of adding to the problem. Oil Free Otago want to be part of that solution.

The future is in renewable energy jobs and industries, Mr Woodhouse. I can hear my mother now: don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Quarantine Island Fight for Their Right to Oppose Deep Sea Drilling

 

Press Release

no drill
In late October 2013 the St Martin Island Community Inc erected a NO
DRILL sign on our jetty on Quarantine Island, Otago Harbour. The sign
was provided by Oil Free Otago on our request after we initiated a
meeting between the two groups.

On the 10th January 2014 we were issued with an abatement notice from
the Otago Regional Council to remove the NO DRILL signage from the jetty
on Quarantine Island. We are appealing this abatement notice.

In the abatement notice ORC state that the signage is advertising and
that the coastal permit for the jetty does not allow this, but SMIC
believe the signage provides a prudent safety message.

The RMA legislation is effects based – this signage is all about
reducing our environmental effects’ SMIC spokesperson Francine Vella said.

The St Martin Island Community have lodged an appeal against the
abatement notice with the Environment Court.

Francine Vella on Behalf of the St Martin Island Community Inc,
Quarantine Island, Otago Harbour.

OFO/DCC Submission to Petroleum Block Offer 2014

Otago Harbour

Otago Harbour

Oil Free Otago’s submission to the Dunedin City Council submission to Petroleum Block Offer 2014.
DCC now have until 14 November to correlate residents’ responses and write their own submission. All residents’ submissions will be attached as an appendix which will go to NZ Petroleum and Minerals (NZPAM), which reports to Simon Bridges, Minister of Energy and Resources.

Submission on Petroleum Block Offer 2014 consultation

To the Dunedin City Council

policy@dcc.govt.nz

31 October 2013

From: OIL FREE OTAGO

Email contact details: oilfreeotago@gmail.com

Kia ora

Oil Free Otago acknowledge the government’s commitment to consult with iwi and hapu about Block Offer 2014 and are pleased to accept the mana whenua’s important role as Kaitiaki of the coast and ocean on behalf of us all. However, we do not accept that other residents will not be consulted. Even local authorities are not being consulted, but onlynotified to ensure an informed and robust process“. This is not acceptable.

The risks to Dunedin (and in the wider context to all New Zealanders and to the world) of deep sea drilling off the Otago coast and anywhere in our exclusive economic zone are so serious that we recommend that all deep sea exploration and drilling in NZ should cease. The two major risks are local, to the environment and the economy and global, to climate change.

Environment and economy 

A major gas blowout or oil spill has the potential to ruin Dunedin’s environment and economy, due to its effect on: 

Our Otago coast’s clean unspoilt beauty, its unique wildlife and the special lifestyle it affords (surfing, diving, boating etc) – and on the importance of NZ’s 100% pure clean green brand.

Dunedin’s ecotourism which brings around $100 million annually into our local economy. Wildlife that would be affected includes:

yellow eyed penguins

Northern royal albatross (more albatross species breed in our exclusive economic zone than anywhere else in the world)

world’s rarest sea lion, the NZ sea lion

38 of the world’s 80 whale and dolphin species breed here. Whales are returning to the Otago coast after many years’ absence.

The fishing industry – commercial, recreational and customary. Fishing is New Zealand’s fifth largest industry, generating $1.2 – 1.5 billion per year. The fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico may take 50 years to recover from the Deepwater Horizon disaster – if ever. (John Wathen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yduv3APYawA)

Rather than being an economic boon as many suggest or believe, the industry is an economic and social burden. 

The oil and gas industry has already cost taxpayers $46 million this year. (http://awsassets.wwfnz.panda.org/downloads/wwf_fossil_fuel_finance_nz_subsidies_report.pdf)

We could not afford a disaster. The Deepwater Horizon disaster cost Americans $42.2 billion. (wikipedia)

Jobs will not be for local people – they will be specialist positions for foreign or out of town experts (http://www.med.govt.nz/sectors-industries/natural-resources/pdf-docs-library/oil-and-gas/economic-contribution-of-oil-and-gas-industry/BERL%20report.pdf)

Infrastructure costs, for example improving Dunedin airport for larger industry traffic, would likely fall upon the ratepayer and taxpayer with no regional royalties from the industry.

Concern of the social impact of a large extractive industry offshore – what effects will fly-in fly-out workers have on our safe Dunedin social fabric?

It is economically naive to invest money and energy in exploring for and producing a product that must not be used due to climate change (see below). For our local community to depend on oil or gas for its wellbeing makes no economic or social sense whatsoever (eg: Environmental Debt, Amy Larkin, 2013 p150)

Anadarko were a 25% co-owner of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and received daily reports of events leading up to that disaster. It appears they were not a passive investor as asserted by NZ’s Anadarko CEO on Campbell Live 8 October 2013. This assertion and other incidents, such as a US class actions against them, the Anadarko NZ companies being registered in the Cayman Islands (why, if not to avoid paying income tax?), their lack of transparency whilst visiting Dunedin and their use of military counterinsurgency tactics against US citizen industry activists (http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/11/11/gas-companies-caught-using-military-strategies-to-overcome-drilling-concerns/) do not paint Anadarko as a trustworthy corporate citizen yet we are being asked to trust them with our ocean and livelihoods. Is this the type of company we should invite to Dunedin?

The risky nature of deep sea drilling in the New Zealand context

The treacherous southern ocean environment – weather extremes, ocean currents from the Antarctic, huge swells as high as six story buildings. (http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/en/reports/Out-Of-Our-Depth-Deep-sea-oil-exploration-in-New-Zealand/)

The distance from help. Relief rigs, if available at all, could be months away and capping devices, the closest of which may be in Singapore, would take at least two weeks to get here. (evidence presented by Shell at August 2013 consultation meeting)

The inadequacy of our Maritime NZ response unit – three “tinnies” with no subsea response capacity.

The government’s use of Corexit. The government has not ruled out using Corexit in the event of a disaster. It used Corexit for two weeks after the Rena oil spill. Corexit is a known carcinogen that has been banned in European countries. It must be banned here and not used again as an oil spill response tool.

Risk data put forward by companies such as Anadarko is historical and not relevant to the untried conditions of our southern ocean.

Climate Change

New Zealand, along with many other countries, has agreed to limit global warming to two degrees, yet its policies contradict this agreement. In order to meet its obligation to the world community and to future generations, 80% of already discovered burnable carbon (oil, gas and coal) must stay in the ground. To stay below the two degree limit all coal must be phased out by 2030, there must be no more drilling for polar or deep sea (marginal) oil and gas, and the remaining conventional oil and gas must be used to urgently build up the infrastructure needed for a low carbon future. (ref: Professor Bob Lloyd, University of Otago, September 2013) It is therefore irresponsible at this time to drill for more, marginal, deep sea oil or gas in dangerous frontier regions such as our southern ocean.

DCC’s submission to last year’s 2013 Petroleum Block Offer recognized the cost to communities of adaptation and mitigation of effects of climate change, and recognised oil and gas’s contribution to climate change but did not appear to join the dots. Governments and local authorities have a duty of care to their citizens. To endorse deep sea drilling off our coast is to disregard this duty.

Alternatives

Climate change mitigation and adaptation measures must match the seriousness of the issue. National and local leaders no longer have the luxury of ignorance nor of failing to join the dots. If we are to take the experts at their word, a ‘wartime response’ to climate change will be needed to keep global warming to a level that will allow for the survival of future Dunedin citizens. Fortunately, we have the ability to make the changes needed in Dunedin and with courage from our leaders could achieve it. Changes are already being made, as proposed in much of the DCC Energy plan, such as making Dunedin a more cycle-friendly city. We have the know-how for an electric car conversion industry to begin immediately to convert Dunedin’s transport fleet. We must encourage local food and low carbon industries such as the electric tram, trains and make public transport affordable and attractive to use. We must stop burning dirty, polluting lignite and coal in our boilers and homes. And again, we recommend that all deep sea exploration and drilling in NZ should cease. There is no time to waste.

Deep Sea Drilling – A Local Perspective

This summer Anadarko Petroleum Corporation intends to begin exploratory deep-sea oil drilling in the Canterbury Basin, off the coast of Otago. Shell are also currently considering deep-sea drilling in the Great South Basin, and using Dunedin as a base. This film gives the perspective of several local academics and prominent members of the community. It addresses the economic, environmental and social issues involved with deep sea drilling off the coast of Otago.

Eye-Witness Account of The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Disaster

John Wathen is an award winning photo journalist who recently toured Aotearoa recounting his experience both on the ground and in the air documenting the catastrophic 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

John flew out over the gulf in a light plane and captured the event as it was unfolding resulting in some amazing footage and images of the worst environmental disaster in America’s history.

His presentation contains some blunt warnings and important lessons for New Zealand as we consider the threat of deep sea oil drilling in our waters in the near future.

Lush Support on World Oceans Day

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The serious business of shopping was interrupted on Saturday by scantily clad oily people at Lush that caught the attention of bemused shoppers – and their other halves.Lush

Oil Free Otago members held the event, in conjunction with Lush, to coincide with World Oceans Day. On World Oceans Day and we wanted to alert Dunedin people that our ocean is at risk. Anadarko, partners in BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, are coming to drill for oil off our coast this summer. Shell are also looking to start deep sea drilling in the Great South Basin soon.While these companies get tax exemptions, government subsidies and almost all the profit, we get all the risk of an oil spill.

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What about the jobs and prosperity Anadarko and Shell might bring to Dunedin? Check out last year’s Ministry of Economic Development report (Regional Impacts of a New Oil or Gas Field).This report says it is highly unlikely that companies would invest in onshore infrastructure. They will export the oil and gas directly. We won’t see it unless it washes up on our beaches.

If that happens, we pay for the cleanup. The Rena cost taxpayers $46.9 million, and that was tiny compared to a major oil rig blowout. The Deepwater Horizon disaster has cost Americans $80 billion and rising.

Cleaning up Saturday’s oily people was easy, but the serious business of cleaning up our beaches will cost a lot more than a bar of Lush soap.


A huge thank you to Lush (Dunedin) for their support  

!luush 1

Untabled facts tell a different story, of danger and disaster

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Untabled facts tell a different story, of danger and disaster

Shell’s exploration manager Roland Spuij was “simply trying to lay the facts on the table” before protesters closed down their community engagement workshop in Dunedin on 8 April. By then the presentation was almost finished – so what facts did Shell lay on the table?

The decision to drill down to 4km in 1.5km deep water in the Great South Basin (GSB), about 150km off Dunedin, will be made later this year. Seismic surveys suggest a 70% chance of finding nothing, a 30% chance of gas and a 1% chance of oil.

It’s gas they’re after, said Shell, not oil.

How credible is this claim? The technology to liquefy gas at sea is still unproven. Our back yard would be Shell’s testing ground for their not yet built FLNG (floating liquefied natural gas vessel); four soccer fields long, six times heavier than the biggest aircraft carrier, and holding 174 olympic swimming pools worth of liquefied gas chilled to -162 degrees C. A gas find would have to be massive to be economically viable. 

Are Shell playing down their expectation of oil to allay fears of the oil-on-beaches image, so real since Rena?

That’s not to say a gas blowout wouldn’t be destructive. Gas could boil to the surface and kill rafting birds such as albatrosses – in Shell’s words, a “moderate” impact.

Such accidents happen even where help is at hand, let alone in a region as remote as the GSB. In the North Sea, a leak at the Elgin platform spewed 200,000 cubic meters of gas per day. It cost $3 billion and took six months to drill relief wells to stop the leak.

But Shell assured the meeting that they “will design the well to the highest industry safety standards”.

How high are these safety standards? They emphasised their injury record in a graph whose unexplained y-axis, ranging from zero to five, hinted at low numbers but turned out to be “number of injuries per million working hours”. To give some meaning to this scale the UK, whose injury record is four times better than ours, had about 130 major or fatal injuries per 100,000 workers last year.

Until 2011 there was only one inspector to oversee our entire oil and gas industry. Now there are three; still poor compared to other countries.

What of Shell’s environmental safety standards?

“Environmental concerns are very close to our heart” Shell repeated (no less than five times) while showing photographs of whale, albatross and shearwater, and the entrance to a local marae.

However, Shell’s ESHIA (Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment) had not been completed, so there was little of substance to present. NIWA’s Tangaroa had just returned from another seabed survey, and although the data hadn’t yet been analysed, it did not stop Shell’s environmental officer from pre-empting the findings; “As you can see, not much there”, he repeated as Tangaroa’s cameras cruised the seabed. A diagram showing marine migration routes passing either side of the proposed drill site backed up the story of an empty ocean. – “No fishing, no tourism, no infrastructure.”

But details of migration, breeding and feeding patterns are virtually unknown for most of our southern ocean creatures. We know little about what our Tairoa Head albatrosses get up to when away from home. We do know that the southern ocean is home to the greatest number and variety of albatrosses and other seabirds in the world.

Close to the heart, or close to the chest? What other facts did Shell leave off the table?

Oil and gas spills happen all the time. The 2010 Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is only extraordinary in terms of scale. Between 2001 and 2010 in the Gulf alone, there were 855 fires or explosions, 1,349 injuries and 69 deaths.

The Montara blowout of 2009 off the coast of Perth, at a depth of 80 meters, took two and a half months to plug and destroyed around 64,000 hectares of coral reefs off Timor. This equates to one Rena disaster every day for 74 days.

Back to Shell. Let’s lay some more facts on the table.

Twenty million people have been displaced following 60 years of environmental damage by Shell’s drilling in the Niger Delta. Following the hanging of nine Nigerian peaceful protestors Shell were sued in 2009 for human rights abuses including summary execution, crimes against humanity, torture, inhumane treatment, arbitrary arrest, wrongful death, and assault and battery.

In February this year Shell pulled out of the Arctic after a drillship grounding, engine failures, a fire on one of its rigs and other technical difficulties.

Shell have been censured 25 times in the past six years for breaking safety rules, but have a history of under-reporting such incidents, let alone laying them on the table in community engagement workshops.

But actually, I agree with Shell; why bother to mention such things?

Companies like Shell already have enough proven oil, gas and coal reserves on their books to raise the atmospheric temperature to five times beyond the so-called “safe” two degree limit. Once burned, it’s goodbye future for our grandchildren.

Oil spills, dubious safety records, crimes against humanity, pale in comparison to the future impacts of Climate Change, the elephant in the room, so studiously omitted from the table at Shell’s community engagement workshop.

By Rosemary Penwarden

Hands Across The Sand

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On Saturday, the 18th of May communities all over the world came together to draw a line in the sand to say no to fossil fuels and yes to clean energy. At 12noon people came together to hold hands for fifteen minutes and draw this symbolic line in the sand. In New Zealand alone, nine groups around the country, comprising over one thousand people, took to the beaches to say no to deep-sea oil drilling in Aotearoa.

On this freezing cold, wet day about sixty people in Dunedin stood together at St Clair beach. These community members voiced their concerns about Anadarko Petroleum Corporation and Shell drilling in our coastal waters.

Over five hundred people lined the beach in the small community of Kaikoura. Their community has clearly united over this issue after their recent  dealings with the government and Anadarko. Oil Free Otago’s aim is to build a similar united front against drilling in Otago.

The people on our beaches on the 18th were a diverse group from all walks of life. The movement against deep-sea oil drilling in New Zealand is growing.

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http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/257700/hands-message-oil-companies

http://handsacrossthesand.org/

http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/8692829/Hundreds-protest-deep-sea-drilling

http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/8693861/Linking-hands-against-oil-exploration

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/8690901/Making-a-stand-on-the-sand

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/135468/beach-protests-held-against-deep-sea-drilling