A group of activist sailors who are incensed about the oil drilling off the coast of Otago in New Zealand's south island have set sail from Dunedin to voice their opposition.
Vega dwarfed by the Noble Bob Douglas - photo by Nick Tapp
Naming themselves 'Oil Free Otago' and using that as their slogan, the sailors are travelling on a flotilla of three yachts from Dunedin Harbour. On arrival at their destination, they will talk directly with those on board the Anadarko ship Noble Bob Douglas.
'We don't want Anadarko to drill off our coasts because of the risk to climate, our local economy, and the risks of an oil spill, obviously,' says Oil Free Otago spokeswoman Niamh O'Flynn.
The Noble Bob Douglas is headed for Tairoa Head, off the coast of Otago. It is expected to arrive sometime tomorrow evening.
The protest flotilla is expected to arrive at the site around midnight.
'This group of local leaders are here to protect our city, our climate, economy and coastlines from deep sea drilling,' Ms O'Flynn says.
'Dunedin has the expertise and the capacity to be at the forefront of clean, innovative energy solutions, and that's what we should be focusing on instead of risky deep sea drilling.'
The flotilla is the latest of several attempts to stop Anadarko's drilling operation in New Zealand.