“Save the Arctic” Anchor Hugger Attaches Herself to Ship

By Faye Higbee

Save the Arctic protest – Chiara D’Angelo, 20, attached herself to the anchor of the  “Arctic Challenger” vessel on Friday night as it was docked in Bellingham, Washington as a protest against oil drilling in the arctic. Western Washington is known for ‘tree huggers,’ but ‘anchor huggers?’


Chiara D’Angelo attached herself to the anchor of the Arctic Challenger – photo by Reese Semanko

#Shellno Protesters have been deluging the Port in Bellingham, where the Shell Oil Drilling ship has been docked. The Coast Guard established a 100 yard “safety zone” around the vessel, which is costing time and effort on one of the busiest weekends of the year for boating. Officials are concerned that their time spent enforcing the safety zone could cause problems for those who might need their help over the Memorial Day weekend.

D’Angelo was joined by Matt Fuller on Friday night, but he asked to come down on Sunday morning. She has stayed, chained to the anchor of the Royal Dutch Shell’s exploration ship. She says she will stay as long as she can to prevent the ship from leaving.

The ship was not scheduled to leave for several days, but at one point rumor had it they would leave even if she were still attached. However, the ship was not scheduled to leave for several days, so that scenario is unlikely.

Chiara has done this sort of thing before. Last year she climbed 60 feet up a fir tree to protest the building of a mall on Bainbridge Island.


Some supporters brought her supplies – photo by Reese Semanko

Some of her friends climbed into a  “stealth” dingy to take her some hot food, long underwear, Depends, and a walkie talkie. They managed to get to the supplies to her but also got citations from the Coast Guard for violation of the safety zone. The Coast Guard escorted some of the folks out of the safety zone.

Her mother, Debra D’Angelo, already had a son out at a #BlackLivesMatter protest in  that area, so when she heard about  her daughter attached to the anchor of the ship, the first thing she said was, “It’s Chiara. Shit.” 

Her mother also climbed about a “stealth” dinghy to communicate with her daughter.  She told her daughter she was “proud” of her “bravery.”

A flotilla of kayaks protesting the oil drilling is set for 4 pm Sunday. Chiara says she plans to stay on the anchor all day.