Protest boats return to oil exploration area

Three protest boats have sailed back to an area off the East Cape of the North Island overnight but organisers will not say how they plan to disrupt a survey ship looking for oil.
Two yachts and a fishing boat left Hicks Bay yesterday and reached the exploration area last night.
Greenpeace spokesman, Dean Baigent-Mercer, told NZPA today the boats had not found the Brazilian exploration ship Orient Explorer by late last night but would be in the area looking today.
The protest, which included local iwi and environmental activists Greenpeace, put swimmers in the path of the exploration ship earlier this month but were served exclusion notices when the navy took police out to the area.
The oil giant Petrobras was surveying in the Raukumara Basin to drill for oil under a five-year licence issued by the Government.
Mr Baigent-Mercer said he did not know what the plans were to restrict the activities of the exploration ship.
The protesters say the oil exploration fuels climate change and the environmental risks of offshore oil rigs are unacceptable.
However, New Zealand Oil and Gas corporate affairs manager Chris Roberts said he was confident oil companies which drilled in New Zealand would do their best to prevent accidents from happening.
``The companies themselves have the greatest incentive to get things right, they can't afford reputationally or financially to get things wrong,'' he told Radio New Zealand.
``The industry in New Zealand has been operating for more than 50 years, has comprehensive existing safety systems in pace and has an excellent safety record,'' he said.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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