Shell’s Oil Rig Departs Seattle for Dutch Harbor

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A giant drill rig operated by Royal Dutch Shell undocked Monday morning from Terminal 5 in Seattle. The Polar Pioneer is headed for Dutch Harbor. It’s expected to arrive in 12 days.

According to the Coast Guard, 24 arrests were made as tugboats moved the rig out of port. A group of so-called “kayaktivists” formed a blockade in an attempt to stop the rig from departing. It’s been docked in Seattle for the last month.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Shell obtained two permits from the Environmental Protection Agency last week that will allow the company to discharge fluids from it’s rigs. The oil giant is awaiting authorization of four remaining permits before it can begin exploratory drilling operations in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas this summer.

As the Polar Pioneer pulled out of Seattle, officials from Unalaska met with Shell’s Marine Operations team this morning. According to Unalaska City Mayor Shirley Marquardt, staff from the Department of Ports and Harbors as well as marine pilots, members of the Unalaska Police Department and the city Manager were in attendance. Marquardt says this is the third meeting the oil company has hosted to outline their operations with local officials.