Oil Free Otago Flotilla

Adios Anadarko!

Adios Anadarko poster final copy

It’s party time! We are delighted to celebrate the departure of Texan giant Anadarko’s drill ship, Noble Bob Douglas, from our shores. They left empty handed – a huge win for the climate, our oceans and our campaign. Anadarko left with a very strong message from New Zealanders that we don’t want them here.
It’s been a busy summer with flotillas, summits, protests on the beaches and non-stop campaigning alongside the other oil free groups up and down the country. Our Ready Response unit made the news big time!
Now with the election looming it’s time to highlight the stupidity of the government’s fossil fuel agenda and bring in leaders who will make the transition to a lucrative green economy.

But don’t take down your signs, there’s plenty more campaigning to come with Shell and others on the horizon and the new block offers just announced. But for now, let’s take a night off to celebrate local resistance to deep sea oil and to look forward to a positive year ahead and our next win!

ADIOS ANADARKO! Don’t come back now, hear?

Whose Seas Are These?

Guest Blog
by Rev Dr Peter Matheson
Reverend Doctor Peter Matheson, former lecturer in theology, sends a message to the drill ship the Noble Bob Douglas explaining his opposition to deep sea drilling.  The Oil Free Otago flotilla is a coalition of Otago residents who oppose deep sea drilling off our coast. Photo by Nick Tapp - nicktappvideo.com

Reverend Doctor Peter Matheson, former lecturer in theology, sends a message to the drill ship the Noble Bob Douglas explaining his opposition to deep sea drilling. The Oil Free Otago flotilla is a coalition of Otago residents who oppose deep sea drilling off our coast. Photo by Nick Tapp – nicktappvideo.com

Whose Seas Are These?

Aged 75, I  was  on a yacht for the first time in my life, the heave of the open ocean
beneath my feet.  There were eight of us, soon melded into a team under  Henk, our
charismatic captain:  Brendan a kaitiaki from the Karitane marae, Damien, from Radio
Live, Jeremy, conservation consultant, Niamh,  spokesperson for Oil Free  Otago, Bob,
scientific expert on global warming, and  Ian, a film-maker.  Majestic it felt, heading up
the harbour on full sail,  little groups  on headlands waving placards and cheering us on,
cars  tooting approval. With our sister-ship, the Erewhon, the send-off from Dunedin
Habour reminded us  of the many  environmental, scientific, church, community groups
we represented.
It was misty, quite chilly up top. I was glad of my Swan-Dry.   Our mission was to
confront the drilling-ship, the Noble Bob Douglas, using the sling-shot of words
against this Texan intruder, whose exclusion zone, as Brendan  pointed out, blocked the
traditional passage-way of the waka.  “Whose seas are these?” he asked on
radio-telephone, as  the huge bulk of the drilling ship loomed over us. No answer, of
course.
Good not to live in Putin’s Russia, though.  Our right to protest was respected by
Anadarko.  Yet they appeared to play sneaky games, shutting off their positioning gear,
so we  could not calculate their time of arrival at the drilling site, 65 kilometers off  our
coast.  So we waited  the night out off Aramoana, scene of another successful protest
three decades  ago against that aluminium smelter.
“Whose seas are these?”  Occasionally I’ve seen an albatross or two at the Heads. But
here they were all round the boat, wheeling, soaring, resting on the water, dozens of
them. Petrels, seven other varieties of birds, seals, we even saw two spouting whales.
When eventually the supply boat of the drilling ship bore down on us, a cordon of
toroa,  of albatross sat on the waves as if to protect us. Incredible!   Unforgetable!
Two worlds confronted one another.  The cultivated voice of the American captain
graciously permitted us  to  speak our piece.  First an impassioned address in te reo by
Waiariki, then seventeen year old Toria, hoping desperately her generation would still
have a world to live in (both from the Erewhon), me on the moral challenge, Bob Lloyd
on the insanity of deep sea drilling from a scientific point of view, Niamh, reminding
the intruders of our community support, finally Brendan: “Whose  seas are these?”
“You can’t build a  society on greed”  David Hume, the great Scottish enlightenment
philosopher once said.  “ Sin is bad, but stupidity is irredeemable”, as  Dietrich
Bonhoeffer, appalled by  Nazi Germany put it.   Greed and stupidity  are powering this
drive to Deep Sea  Oil, supported (alas ) by Government, vast financial interests, by the
majority of the media.  Ordinary good, decent  people  still think we can power on as
we are, relying  on  more and more oil.  Yet we only have ten years to dramatically
decrease the carbon emissions, before  we  overrun the  2% increase in global warming,
and  then  we’re  into a truly apocalyptic scenario.  “Woe unto you,” said the Hebrew
prophets.
At heart it’s a question  of  moral authority and whether rationality will prevail.  Whom do
you believe? Anadarko, the Government, have all the power. But do you believe them? Can
you trust them with the lives of our children and children’s children? That is the question
our symbolic protest poses. A dramatic turn-around towards sustainability is the greatest
ethical challenge of our time, and every one of us has the responsibility to rub our eyes,
wake up, and engage with this debate. We’re not asking you to believe us, but to look at the
evidence, face the despair, to overcome it by taking appropriate action. The prayer of those
of us on the Tiama and the Erehwon is that you ask our leaders, with life and death urgency,
to think again.

Otago Flotilla Photos

 

Welcome Otago Flotilla Home Birch St Wharf 8am

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Welcome the Otago Flotilla Home!
Monday 10-February 8:00am
Birch Street Wharf, Dunedin, NZ
See you at the wharf to say “Thank you Otago Flotilla, you’re an inspiration!”

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.