Shell icebreaker heads back to dock after standoff with proteste - KPTV - FOX 12

Shell icebreaker heads back to dock after standoff with protesters

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The icebreaker vessel at the center of a protest by Greenpeace turned around and headed back to dock Thursday morning after a standoff at the St. Johns Bridge, where activists were spending their second day hanging in protest.

Thirteen activists rappelled over the side of the bridge Wednesday morning in an attempt to block the MSV Fennica from passing.

The Fennica left dock shortly before 6:30 a.m. Thursday, headed downriver on its scheduled trip to the Arctic, where it will assist in oil drilling. The ship has been in dry dock in Portland undergoing repairs.

READ MORE: Greenpeace protesters hang off St. Johns Bridge to block ship's passage

The Coast Guard was escorted the Fennica as it headed downriver Thursday, to provide a safety buffer on all sides of the ship. Officers issued repeated warnings to protesters that they were trespassing and violating the safety zone.

Protesters, however, showed no signs of moving and activists in kayaks continued to join the protest from the water. A representative from Greenpeace said they were prepared to spend several days hanging from the bridge.

Shortly after 7:30 a.m. Thursday, the Fennica turned around and headed back upriver as protesters and their supporters cheered on.

Protesters also claimed victory on social media.

Fennica beat a hasty retreat in the face of our commitment to #SaveTheArctic I hope Obama is listening too. #ShellNo pic.twitter.com/8cLcDUU8BY

— Elizabeth Mount (@chalice_chica) July 30, 2015

Backincamp - the Fennica is no longer in sight. That was one hell of wake up call and very exciting morning. #ShellNo pic.twitter.com/kEQS0K7X2D

— Dan Cannon (@DanEnviroCannon) July 30, 2015

PHOTOS: Protesters dangle over side of St. Johns Bridge

A spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau said officers were taking a limited role in the situation, assisting with the closure of the bridge. Police reopened the bridge to traffic shortly before 8 a.m.

The protest wasn't affecting any other traffic on the Willamette River. Protesters rigged a pulley system that allowed them to raise and lower themselves as necessary to allow other ships through.

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