Judge hears testimony but doesn't rule in Shell injunction request against drilling protesters

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A federal judge heard testimony but isn’t ruling yet on Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s request for a preliminary injunction ordering Greenpeace USA to stay away from Shell’s Arctic-bound petroleum drilling fleet.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason in Anchorage, Alaska, said Tuesday that she’ll rule soon on Shell’s claim that it needs safety zones keeping Greenpeace activists away from vessels.

For six days this month, activists boarded a Shell drill vessel as it crossed the Pacific. Shell wants to use the vessel to drill in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea.

Shell is seeking a 1,500-meter safety zone around drill vessels.

Greenpeace attorney Matthew Pawa says Shell is trying to circumvent Coast Guard authority. He says the large safety zone would hurt activists’ ability to draw attention to harmful drilling.