Coast Guard cites Portland protesters, initiates civil penalties

Lady Justice 300PORTLAND, Ore. — Coast Guard Sector Columbia River investigating officers initiated civil penalties, Thursday, against 13 individuals who entered an established safety-zone around a Shell-contracted vessel in Portland.

These individuals were cited in accordance with Code of Federal Regulations for entry into or staying in a federally-regulated safety zone established between July 22 and July 30.

“While the Coast Guard supports peaceful protest activity upon domestic waters, the actions of these individuals violated federal law,” said Capt. Daniel Travers, captain of the port and commander of Coast Guard Sector Columbia River. “We are holding these individuals accountable because their safety zone violations created an extremely dangerous situation and unnecessarily put protesters and law enforcement personnel at risk.”

The recommended penalty for each citation was $500. Coast Guard officials can seek a maximum civil penalty of $40,000 for each entry into the zone or day the individuals violated the zone. The final penalty will be determined by the Coast Guard Hearing Office in Arlington, Va. Hearing officers will be assigned and provide the individuals an opportunity to refute the charges or provide evidence on their behalf.

On July 22, the Coast Guard established 100-yard safety zones around Arctic drilling and support vessels while moored or anchored, and a 500-yard safety zone while transiting to allow maximum use of the waterway by all users consistent with safe navigation.

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