SEATTLE — Coast Guard personnel assisted in the removal of an activist who secured himself to the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger in Bellingham, Wash., Sunday morning.
Matt Fuller requested Coast Guard assistance down from the vessel’s anchor chain at approximately 4:30 a.m. and was taken to Coast Guard Station Bellingham.
Coast Guard personnel transported him in good condition to Station Bellingham were he was met by EMS and the Bellingham Police Department but was not arrested. Fuller was released in good condition.
The Coast Guard has cited four people for violation of the 100-yard safety zone around the Arctic Challenger and has terminated the voyage of two vessels determined to not have had the required safety gear including operating without navigational lights after sunset. A small inflatable raft was held due to lack of proof of ownership.
“The Coast Guard has a duty to promote the safety of life at sea, which includes the encouragement of safe navigation in our ports and waterways by all waterway users, said Lt. Cmdr. Justin Noggle, chief of enforcement at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, in Seattle. “The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment Rights of people to safely and lawfully assemble on the water. To that end, we will enforce those laws and regulations necessary to ensure the safety of the maritime public.”
Violation of the safety zone can result in possible civil or criminal penalties. Whether intentional or unintentional, interference with these vessels has the potential to result serious injury, death or pollution in the highly sensitive ecosystem of Puget Sound.