Six "green" vessels have spent a week circling the exploration ship Noble Bob Douglas, trying to stop the drilling. Veteran campaign vessel Vega remains inside the ship's 500m safety exclusion zone - the flotilla members will discuss today whether to stay there and what their next move will be.
Noble Bob Douglas had been due to put its 4600m drill down in 1500m of water last week after arriving on-site on 20 November, in an operation costing $1m a day. Greenpeace claims Anadarko can not drill because Vega was there, but Anadarko NZ spokesman Alan Seay says he's "...not aware of (any law) that says drilling must not take place if there is a vessel within 500m. We've laid a complaint with the police (about Vega within the safety zone) - we're not seeking any particular response from them; that's their call to make."
Prime Minister John Key says the govt has options to handle protesters who might try to delay drilling, but he's refused to elaborate on them, or say whether the navy would be called in.
Anadarko's licence runs 15 Nov.-14 Feb. It's an offence for any vessel to be within 500m of the drillship... and that's a bit different from the protesters' interpretation of the law...
[Note: Anadarko owns 25% of BP's Macondo well, which caused the 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil disaster - considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in history.]
PS: 20 Dec.2013 - Greenpeace's legal challenge fails on technical grounds.