Greenpeace crew have made contact with the seismic vessel ‘Amazon Warrior’ after travelling 50 nautical miles on two rigid-hulled inflatables off the coast of Wairarapa.
The boat crews, consisting of members from Greenpeace and local iwi, located the 125-metre seismic vessel searching for oil off the East Coast of New Zealand on behalf of oil giants Statoil and Chevron.
From on board one of the inflatables, Greenpeace campaigner Kate Simcock radioed the master of the Amazon Warrior to deliver an open letter of protest signed by over 60,000 New Zealanders, Greenpeace noted.
Polynesian voyaging waka captain and East Coast resident, Reuben Raihania Tipoki (Ngāti Kahungunu), also delivered a message on behalf of over 80 indigenous communities from the East Coast of New Zealand, demanding Statoil and Chevron cease activities in their customary waters.
The Amazon Warrior currently has two support vessels, the Ocean Pioneer and the Maria G, circling it.
Greenpeace climate campaigner, Kate Simcock, said: “This is one big beast and it’s eerie to see it out here roaming such a beautiful stretch of coastline. In order to find oil, it’s blasting sound waves into the ocean every 8 seconds, 24 hours a day, from massive arrays that are the length of 80 rugby fields.
“And this is all for the very oil that science says can’t be burned if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe. It’s a complete betrayal that our Government has invited this climate-wrecking machine to roam our unique coastlines.”
The crew is monitoring the Amazon Warrior and its support vessels throughout the day as they search for oil.
This will include taking underwater recordings of the seismic blasts that can deafen whales, and collecting data which will be fed through to scientists to measure the effects on marine life, Greenpeace added.