Geelong protests against seismic testing
Written by: Duncan B. on 18 August 2021
Geelong’s waterfront has been a busy place for protests lately. On Sunday August 15th more than 40 protesters staged a protest at the gates of the port at Corio Quay, or paddled their surfboards in Corio Bay. They are members of an environmental group OCEAN---the Otway Climate Emergency Action Network.
They were seeking to disrupt the loading of the seismic survey ship Geo Coral. The ship was due to leave Geelong, bound for the Otway Basin west of King Island to conduct seismic blasting in a search for oil in the area. Recently the Federal Government gave the go-ahead for oil exploration in the Otway Basin, as close as 5 km from the Twelve Apostles.
Seismic blasting involves releasing 259-decibel blasts from the rear of the ship to determine gas and oil deposits deep below the ocean floor. The blasts kill, damage and disturb marine creatures including whales. One protester, who is a rock lobster fisherman at Apollo Bay, said he had seen at first-hand that seismic testing was decimating the marine life in his fishing grounds off Apollo Bay. He said, “Over the last year or so, fishing has been in strong decline, the ships just go there and blast away and don’t care what they wipe out.”
An OCEAN spokesperson said, “If we are to limit global warming and for our planet to be a safe place for our children to live, we must leave fossil fuels under the ground.”
On Wednesday 18th of August OCEAN members returned to the port in the early hours of the morning for another protest. Two intrepid people actually boarded the Geo Coral and attached themselves to the ship. They were able to delay its departure until police could forcibly remove them. The two will be charged on summons with trespassing and will appear in court at a later date. They have been threatened with severe penalties under the Maritime Transport and Offshore Facilities Security Act 2003.
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