The Polar Pioneer at Terminal 5. Image courtesy of Dennis Bratland/Wikimedia Commons.

Seattle police arrested a group of five protesters on Tuesday for blocking entrances to the city’s port in an effort to thwart Shell’s upcoming Arctic drilling campaign.

The group erected blockades at two entrances leading to Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle to protest Shell’s plans to explore offshore Alaska this summer, KOMO News said.

The protesters, who call themselves the Raging Grannies, said they wanted to disrupt work on the semi-submersible Polar Pioneer drilling unit to delay the start of the campaign.

“Shell only has until the end of June to make it up to the Arctic in time to drill this summer. We want to stop them from leaving,”  protester Blaine Doherty told KOMO.

Shell is housing part of its Arctic fleet, including the Polar Pioneer, at Terminal 5.

Police told KOMO News the group was arrested for blocking train tracks outside of the terminal.

In May, Shell’s revamped Arctic drilling plan won conditional approval from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management after two years of legal battles.

The plan calls for up to six wells to be drilled at the Burger Prospect in water depths of 140 feet about 70 miles northwest of the village of Wainwright.

The Polar Pioneer has been the target of multiple demonstrations against Shell.

Earlier this year, a group of Greenpeace protesters illegally boarded the Polar Pioneer as it made its way up from Hawaii to Seattle.

Environmentalists groups in Seattle have staged multiple protests since the rig’s arrival, including intercepting the rig with kayak flotilla as it docked at the Port of Seattle.


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