Coast Guard removes protesters from vessel in Bellingham, Wash

Coast Guard Station Honolulu tactical small boat trainingSEATTLE — A Coast Guard boatcrew assisted Bellingham Police Department personnel in the removal of two activists who secured themselves to the chain of the barge American Trader in Bellingham, Friday morning.

The protesters were taken to Coast Guard Station Bellingham at about 9:30 a.m., aboard a 45-foot Response Boat-Medium, where Bellingham Police officers placed them under arrest. Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound investigating officers intend to issue a notice of violation.

“Coast Guard personnel have an excellent working relationship with our partner law enforcement agencies, and together we are committed to the safety of life at sea,” said Lt. Cmdr. Justin Noggle, chief of enforcement at Sector Puget Sound. “We will continue to enforce those laws and regulations necessary to ensure the safety of the maritime public.”

Watchstanders at Sector Puget Sound received a call around 4:50 a.m., from Station Bellingham personnel, reporting protesters had secured themselves to the Shell-contracted vessel’s chain. The Coast Guard established a 100-yard safety zone in place around Arctic drilling and support vessels while moored or anchored, and a 500-yard safety zone while those vessels are transiting.

Safety zone violations can result in a maximum civil penalty of $40,000 for each entry into the zone or day the individuals violated the zone.

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