"The Government have clearly sent the message to Shell, ‘you can do whatever you want’. Fortunately due to protest, the refinery remains unconnected to the gas field. If, as Shell planned, gas had been flowing by now, we would potentially all be dealing with a gas leak and explosion.”
This Monday, 20th September two Shell to Sea campaigners tied themselves to a drill on one of Shell's platforms, and remained up there stopping work for a total of 12 hours, from 7am to 7pm.
Just before 7am, nine people swam out to one of Shell's drilling platforms in the Srwaddacon Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Two people climbed up the drill and secured themselves with a hammock while the rest of the swimmers remained underneath the platform.
For the first hour a team of five swimmers and two kayakers remained in the water underneath the platform in support of the two climbers. Around 8am IRMS security violently removed several campaigners, dragging them through the water by their life jackets. Shell had 13 safety and security boats surrounding and keeping people away from the platform for the duration of the protest. A Garda boat arrived at about 9am and arrested two kayakers who were paddling around the platform, but they were both released without charges.
For part of the morning Shell began drilling with the second drill on the platform, despite the fact that two protesters were virtually up inside the platform at the top of the main drill. This was completely illegal, a major health and safety violation. The noise was deafening for the two occupiers but Shell continued working anyway, until complaints were made to the Health and Safety Authority and work on the second drill was halted as well.
However most of the day was fairly relaxed. Overall it was quite an amazing action, and people's spirits were high. There was a lot of singing, and even bagpipes! At 7pm when the two occupiers came down from their position, they were not arrested.