The Gloves are Off in the Fight for the Bight

Thursday, 19 Dec, 2019

It's time to bring our A-Game -- Commentary by Jeff Hansen 

With the recent news of Norwegian oil-giant Equinor receiving its second of four approvals from NOPSEMA to drill for oil in our Great Australian Bight, the time has come to stand together as one as we continue to fight for the Bight. 

NOPSEMA, the National Offshore Safety and Environmental Management Authority's decision to give Equinor environmental approval is quite frankly wrong. There is no way to guarantee there will be no oil spill in the Bight, especially with a company with a track record of oil spills like Equinor.

Given the sea state, depth of drilling and remoteness of the Bight, there is simply no way to clean up a spill in this area - where Equinor's own spill modelling shows that much of Southern Australia could be affected. 

The environmental risks are too great. A spill in the Bight would have a catastrophic impact of one of the world's last intact grand marine wilderness areas on the planet. The Bight is home to sperm, humpback, minke, fin and even endangered blue whales, and not to mention home to one of the world's most significant southern right whale nurseries. Then there are orcas, sharks like makos and great whites, penguins and Australian endangered sea lions. And this is what Norwegian oil-giant Equinor is putting at risk. 

Protecting our beautiful country and wildlife is what the Australian spirit is all about. 

An Australian sea lion in the Great Australian Bight

BP and Chevron ceased their plans to drill for oil in the Bight, however, this Norwegian company arrogantly pushes on, completely disrespecting the hundreds of thousands of Australians that oppose this project, not to mention the tourism sectors and twenty-plus councils across Southern Australia, clearly showing that Equinor does not give a damn about social licence.

This is not the Christmas present we wanted, nor is it what our children deserve at this point in our planet's history.

Jeff Hansen

However, not all is lost. 

Bad things happen only when good people sit idle and you, me, and all of us at Sea Shepherd and the Great Australian Bight Alliance are not going to sit idly and allow this insanity to go ahead.

As Australia has just endured its hottest national day on record, our brave firefighters are out battling unprecedented raging bushfires and while Sydney is covered in a blanket of thick smoke, it's very clear that a climate emergency is truly upon us. 

As our oceans rise, so too must we.

Jeff Hansen

We need to fight like our lives depend on it, because they do. Our planet's ability to support life hangs by a thread. 

Our love and passion for the Bight remain, our resolve is stronger than ever, and our message is clear: Equinor, you will not drill for oil in the Bight. 

#Fightforthebight paddle-out at Mollymook, NSW. Photo: Dean Dampney

Please take this time out and rest and recover at this time of the year as we will need our energy and focus as we regroup in the new year to take Equinor head-on.

Together we will build a war chest, looking at avenues for a legal challenge and taking the fight to Norway. 

We call on the people of Norway to join us in this global fight for the Bight and a liveable climate for future generations.

It's time to bring our A-Game. It's not called the fight for the Bight for nothing, so fight on we must and fight on we will.

You have all been a part of this journey into the Great Australian Bight, and I know that together, there is nothing we can not achieve.  Let's go everyone; we can do this.

Wishing you all the very best at this festive season and a wonderful 2020 as we work towards no Big Oil in our Bight. Losing this one is not an option. 

With respect and appreciation, 

Jeff Hansen

Managing Director - Sea Shepherd Australia 

Take a stand for the protection of the Great Australian Bight by sending an email to Equinor today 

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