Coast Guard issues violations, fines for Greenpeace protest on P - KPTV - FOX 12

Coast Guard issues violations, fines for Greenpeace protest on Portland bridge

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Five people who blocked a Shell Oil Co. ship from passing through Portland by staging a protest on the St. Johns Bridge are facing $5,000 fines from the U.S. Coast Guard.

A Coast Guard spokesman said five protesters, including three who dangled from the bridge for two days, have been issued violations for interfering with the safe operations of a vessel.

The protest generated attention around the country when a group of Greenpeace protesters suspended themselves over the Willamette River starting early in the morning on July 29.

The goal was to block a Shell icebreaking ship, the MSV Fennica, destined for a drilling site in the Arctic.

Thirteen protesters dangled from the bridge, while 13 others served as anchors on the deck of the bridge.

The ship did not attempt to leave during the first day of the protest, but did depart early the following morning, before turning around and returning upriver.

The Oregon Department of Transportation shut down the bridge that afternoon at the request of the Coast Guard and with the assistance of police and firefighters.

By 4:30 p.m., the protesters began coming down to waiting sheriff's office boats. The Fennica then launched again.

Enough protesters had been cleared from the St. Johns Bridge for the ship to pass, but kayakers, dubbed kayaktivists, filled the river to again attempt to block it.

After confrontations between the kayakers with Coast Guard and police boats, the Fennica cleared the bridge by 6 p.m.

The Coast Guard said violations carrying $500 fines were issued to 13 of the kayakers.

According to the Coast Guard, the violations mean "the Coast Guard believes you or your company is the party responsible for an alleged violation of law or regulation."

Coast Guard violations, however, will not appear on a driving record or any other federal, state or local law enforcement records.

The Coast Guard did not identify the people who received the violations. 

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