Thanks to “Diver Laura” James for the video, showing the cleanup we previewed here on Sunday – the blocks and cable left behind (deliberately, by agreement of all those concerned) when the “Solar Pioneer” protest barge moved west after first dropping them in the popular Cove 2 dive zone. The official post-cleanup news release from GUE Seattle declares it “a complete success”:
Two teams of GUE Seattle SCUBA divers entered the water (Monday) at 7:00 AM and located the debris field consisting of concrete blocks and steel cables.
(Photos courtesy GUE Seattle)
The five GUE Seattle divers attached mooring line and buoys so a commercial salvage operation could easily locate and remove the debris. At approximately 9:00 AM, a commercial dive team from Global Diving & Salvage arrived on site and deployed surface-supplied divers into the water.
After approximately three hours of work, the Global Diving & Salvage dive team had safely successfully removed all debris without causing any further damage to the dive park.
On Monday, May 19th, 2015, an environmental activist group moored a barge known as the Solar Pioneer in Alki Seacrest Park in protest of Shell’s Polar Pioneer Arctic drilling rig housed at Seattle’s Harbor Island Terminal 5. In the process of mooring, the activist group dropped concrete blocks and thick steel mooring cables and inadvertently damaged a popular underwater park known as Alki Cove 2. As the barge rose and fell with the tides, the steel mooring cables swept the area underneath, causing additional collateral damage to the marine environment as well as endangering recreational divers. Today, the Global Underwater Explorers (GUE) Seattle cleanup project was successfully completed and all concrete blocks and the steel mooring cables were recovered and properly disposed of.
We would like to sincerely thank Royal Dutch Shell, Foss Maritime, and John Sellers (the operator of the Solar Pioneer), for financially contributing to the cleanup effort and future restoration work; Laura James for her assistance in video documentation; and Global Diving & Salvage for their skillful work in removing the debris without causing any additional environmental damage.
The Polar Pioneer, as reported here early Monday morning, has left Seattle, headed north; the Solar Pioneer was still off Don Armeni as of sunset.