Greenpeace issued a warning to the world’s biggest seismic survey vessel when she arrived in New Zealand waters on Saturday, as part of a campaign urging New Zealand to “do it again” and stop oil ships, just as it did nuclear ships.
In 1984, Prime Minister David Lange barred nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed ships from using New Zealand ports or entering New Zealand waters.
Greenpeace has published a video on social media featuring a classic Split Enz track and calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to seize her nuclear-free moment and turn back the oil exploration ships. Greenpeace climate campaigner, Kate Simcock, says “Jacinda Ardern says climate change is her generation’s nuclear free moment. Going nuclear free meant stopping the nuclear ships. Taking action on climate change means stopping the oil ships. We’d like to see the Prime Minister back up her bold words with strong action.”
The video has been viewed over 50,000 times shared more than 1,600 times in the last few days.
Greenpeace has promised the Amazon Warrior will face opposition over its plans to search for oil in the middle of a blue whale habitat. The 125-meter (410-foot), Schlumberger-operated ship is set to search for oil in the Taranaki Basin on behalf of OMV.
Simcock says the Amazon Warrior is looking for the oil and gas that we can’t burn if we want a stable climate. “Although the Amazon Warrior is in New Zealand waters right now, it seems the Government has not yet approved Schlumberger’s permit request to seismic blast across almost 20,000 square kilometers of the Taranaki Basin. There is still time to turn this ship around, but we must do it urgently,” she says.
“If not, this ship should expect mass public resistance. We understand Schlumberger is proposing up to three months of constant blasting, every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day. The impacts on blue whales in this area are likely to be torturous, interfering with their communication and feeding.
“As well as the harmful impacts on marine life, science tells us we can’t afford to burn most of the fossil fuel reserves we know about if we’re to have a chance at stabilizing our climate. Searching for new oil makes zero sense.”
Earlier this week, Taranaki iwi and representatives wrote an open letter to Ardern calling on her to halt seismic testing off the Taranaki coast.
The Amazon Warrior also faced resistance last summer when it was in New Zealand searching for oil on behalf of Statoil, Chevron and OMV off the Wairarapa Coast. Thousands signed petitions, crowd funded a boat to confront her at sea, and sent emails of complaint to Statoil and Chevron. In April, Greenpeace activists, including Executive Director Dr Russel Norman and volunteer Sara Howell, swam in front of the ship, 60 nautical miles out to sea, halting operations for a day.
The activists and Greenpeace were charged by the oil division of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, under the 2013 Amendment to the Crown Minerals Act known as the ‘Anadarko Amendment’. They face a year in jail and up to $300,000 in collective fines. They have pleaded Not Guilty and will face trial in April next year.
A petition calling on the government to stop the seismic survey and end the Block Offer process has gained over 20,000 signatures, says Greenpeace.