Coast Guard files charges against Portland protesters

The Fennica and its yellow capping stack in Alaska's Dutch Harbor on July 18. (KUCB/John Ryan photo)
The Fennica and its yellow capping stack in Alaska’s Dutch Harbor on July 18. (KUCB/John Ryan photo)

The U.S. Coast Guard says it is fining five Greenpeace protesters $5,000 each for dangling from a bridge over the Willamette River and blocking a Royal Dutch Shell icebreaker from leaving Portland for an Arctic drilling operation.

The protesters facing fines include three who dangled on lines below the St. John’s bridge for 40 hours late last month and two support staff on the deck of the bridge.

The violations have been referred to a Coast Guard hearing office in Virginia. The protesters have the right to appeal.

A Greenpeace spokeswoman told Oregon Public Broadcasting she was working to confirm the charges.

The icebreaking vessel Fennica arrived in Portland late last month for repairs to its hull after sustaining damage in the Aleutian Islands. More than a dozen Greenpeace protesters suspended themselves from the bridge, but the ship was able to leave the city on July 30.