Chiara D’Angelo suspended herself from the anchor chain of the Royal Dutch Shell support ship Arctic Challenger in the harbor at Bellingham, Wash. (Reese Semanko via AP)

Listen to activist Chiara D’Angelo discuss her protest and the dangers of oil drilling on “The Joe Show,” AM 930 Progressive Talk, KBAI, here.

Twenty-year-old college student Chiara D’Angelo spent 66 hours over Memorial Day weekend chained to the anchor of a vessel slated for use by the Royal Dutch Shell oil company in exploratory drilling operations off the coast of northwestern Alaska.

D’Angelo ended her protest, which took place in a harbor in the city of Bellingham, Wash., when she asked Coast Guard personnel to help her down at 9:30 a.m. on Memorial Day. She and her fellow activists said they wanted to question claims that the vessel could help clean up oil spills in the Arctic; they also assert that the extraction and burning of fossil fuels must stop to keep Earth habitable for humans and other life.

Earlier in May, hundreds of activists in kayaks swarmed Elliot Bay in Seattle to protest Shell’s drilling plans.

In an interview with the progressive a.m. radio program “The Joe Show,” D’Angelo said she sought “to bring attention to the issue … to shine light on this symbol in our bay.”

“I was sitting on the Gateway Pacific toxic waste site that used to be historic Lummi fishing ground. We’re talking about one of the most ecologically functioning fishing grounds in the Salish Sea. Right? The people that identify most—way of life—this was their fishing ground, and now it’s a toxic waste site. And I’m sitting there with this guise, this way of saying, ‘Oh, we have an ability to clean it up. We have the Arctic Challenger, and it can technically do what Shell claims it can do.’ And so by hanging off of it over the site, I realized that I’m bringing awareness not only to this ship, but also to what this ship is trying to do in the Arctic.”

D’Angelo also spoke about her uncle who works in the petroleum industry. She sympathized with those who depend on the industry for their livelihoods but said that her uncle recognized that the work he is involved in endangers human life.

Listen to the full interview here.

A second protester, Matt Fuller, joined D’Angelo on the anchor that weekend from Saturday morning until Sunday. In a telephone interview cited by The Guardian, he called Shell’s plans “an affront to our planet and to our society and especially to the indigenous populations up in Alaska who rely on the fish for their subsistence and economic wellbeing.” He added that he was motivated to protest by frustration with the Obama administration, which gave a tentative green light to Shell’s drilling project after declaring that the company had developed strong measures to protect against an oil spill.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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