Every 10 Seconds…


Human Wrongs Watch

By Elizabeth Monaghan*

10 September 2015 (Greenpeace) – 24 hours per day. 7 days per week. For weeks on end. The Arctic Ocean is being blasted by deafening 259 decibel explosions. Why? To map oil deposits under the ocean floor so that Shell and other big oil companies know where to set their greedy gaze for future oil exploration.

Until now, all this was happening in near-secret, at the top of the world, far from the public eye. But 7 million people and counting have registered their concerns for the Arctic region. And the Arctic Sunrise ship is in north-east Greenland to expose how seismic blasting is disrupting and harming ocean life.

We invite you to share in this epic journey set against a breathtaking Arctic backdrop:

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

The tour gets off to a great start in picturesque Nuuk, Greenland’s capital…

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

…where over 100 people are welcomed on board to see the ship and hear about the upcoming mission.

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

The first leg of the journey takes us north along the east coast of Greenland. The atmosphere is thick with the sense of determination and we watch in awe as the incredible landscape unfolds around us.

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Drifting past enormous icebergs gives us a huge sense of reverence. It’s unthinkable that Big Oil should come anywhere near this place. One of the team hits the nail on the head when he asks “Who on earth would want to go looking for oil in a place like this?”

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

This area of the Arctic is home to vulnerable and endangered species of whale, who depend on sound in order to communicate, hunt and survive. Further south there were some whale sightings. But once we’re in the High Arctic, it becomes suspiciously deserted.

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

“Seismic blasting is not something that impacts only on your ears—it affects your entire way of life, your behavior and how you function and interact with your environment.”

—Shea Wilcox, on board medic, Australia

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Sune Scheller, Arctic Expedition Leader and Anne Jensen, 2nd Mate, update the coastguard from the bridge of the Arctic Sunrise.

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Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

When we finally encounter the seismic vessel we are seeking, it is already blasting the Arctic seabed. We could hear it above water from up to 7 kilometres away.

It doesn’t bear thinking about that the majestic species of whales who call this place home, should be subjected to this level of noise pollution when they depend completely on sound to communicate, hunt and survive. The mood onboard becomes more serious. There’s work to be done. 

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

“We got into position close to the airguns behind the seismic vessel and quickly dropped cameras and hydrophone to document it. Every time the air guns fired, everything in the inflatable boat jumped and you felt a shock wave through your body. It was one of those moments that you just know you’ll remember the rest of your life.”

—Sune Scheller, Arctic Expedition Leader

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

“At the same time as feeling a bit scared, I felt so privileged and motivated being able to expose what the oil industry is doing far, far away, from where anyone is watching. We know that the companies behind the blasting prefer to keep their business hidden and are hoping the world neither won’t know what seismic blasting is, where it takes place, and what danger it poses to Arctic marine life.”

—Fernanda Arduino, Deckhand

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

The first time the recordings of the seismic blasting are played back on the ship, it really affects everybody. The sheer gravity of this situation. It’s clear that there is very little wildlife in the area, which is a narwhal and bowhead whale breeding ground, and you can’t help but wonder how much damage has already been done.

Shea Wilcox, Australia. Martina Deplano, Italy. Elmer Vestidas, Philippines. Fernanda Arduino, Argentina.

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Credit: Christian Aslund/Greenpeace

Shea Wilcox, Australia. Martina Deplano, Italy. Elmer Vestidas, Philippines. Fernanda Arduino, Argentina.

The crew of the Arctic Sunrise stand IN the Arctic in DEFENCE of the Arctic to represent all of you around the globe who want to stop seismic blasting.

Thanks to you, seismic blasting is no longer an industry secret. Now we have to work together to shut it down.

Add your voice today

*Elizabeth Monaghan is an International Online Campaign Coordinator for Greenpeace Argentina. Monaghan’s report was published on Greenpeace. Go to Original

2015 Human Wrongs Watch

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