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Shell barge that was target of Bellingham protest arrives in Alaska

Crews from Superior Energy Services test water pump systems aboard the Arctic Challenger on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 in Bellingham. The ship was built for Shell offshore drilling operations in the Alaskan Arctic.
Crews from Superior Energy Services test water pump systems aboard the Arctic Challenger on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014 in Bellingham. The ship was built for Shell offshore drilling operations in the Alaskan Arctic. The Bellingham Herald

The Bellingham-based Arctic Challenger reached port in Alaska on Wednesday, June 10, for a brief stop before heading to the Chukchi Sea to support exploratory oil drilling, an Alaskan television station reported.

The vessel is moored on the Aleutian Islands in Dutch Harbor, where the U.S. Coast Guard is beefing up its patrols in case activists show up at the fishing community to protest Royal Dutch Shell’s plans to drill this summer, according to KTUU TV.

The Arctic Challenger, a barge modified with oil-spill containment equipment, was retrofitted in Bellingham in 2012 and had been moored at the Port of Bellingham shipping terminal. Protesters in Bellingham attached themselves to the anchor chain of the Arctic Challenger May 22-25. The Coast Guard is seeking fines against four of the protesters involved.

Protesters say full-scale drilling in the Arctic Ocean would harm the marine environment and worsen climate change.

Photographs on climate-change activist group Rising Tide Bellingham’s Facebook page show the Arctic Challenger leaving Bellingham on May 29.

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