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Solitaire sails into an Irish storm

By John Donovan

Printed below is a request received from Maura Harrington from the Sea to Shell Campaign followed by her email correspondence with Allseas, the Swiss-based owner of the Solitaire (above), the worlds largest and most powerful offshore pipelaying vessel expected to arrive shortly in Broadhaven Bay, Ireland, after being chartered by Shell.



Dear John, 

Maura here again, at another time of need. 

First, best regards to your father – long may he continue to rattle $hell. 

Please consider the correspondences attached below and do with what you will. 

It would be interesting to ascertain with whom the ultimate liability lies in the matter of rusting pipes; independent insurances on absence/presence of corrosion between pipe and outer covering etc. etc. not to mention the reality of, literally, sailing into disputed waters together with disputed land-based matters as yet unadjudicated upon and further incipient High, Supreme and EU Court challenges. 

I look forward to your reply. Please use this as you will. 

Much thanks to you both, Maura


“maurah ias” <[email protected] wrote: 


I note with disappointment the apparent failure of your good selves to adequately and reasonably accede to my request that the matters discussed per previous correspondence, contained below, have been brought to the attention of your external auditors, lawyers and insurers – by registered post to my address with which you were provided. 

Please be advised that this series of correspondence is now copied to Messrs Alfred and John Donovan at to use at their discretion. 

Please also be advised that, if and when I next communicate with you by email or fax, such communication is to be brought to the immediate attention of the Master of the Solitaire. The original of said communication is already with my solicitor; first copy is on my father’s grave; subsequent copies will be with the Irish Times and Messrs Donovan. 

I would, for the last time, request that you reply – by email, registered post or courier to: 

Maura Harrington, Shell to Sea, Doohoma, Ballina, Co. Mayo confirming that my correspondences have been brought to the attention of your external lawyers, auditors and insurers. 

Thanking you, Maura Harrington.


“maurah ias” <[email protected]> wrote: 

Mr. Hagelstein, 

I hereby acknowledge receipt of emails from your good self dated 14th July and 17th July 2008. 

Please be advised that I do not consider this matter appropriate to the Public Relations section of your company and am therefore replying to you on this occasion as a matter of courtesy. 

As discussed by telephone today with Ms Christelle Allaz (shortly before your email transmit of today’s date, co-incidental I’m sure) I would appreciate acknowledgement of the hard copy of correspondence sent to the Legal Dept of your company by registered post, receipt of which has been confirmed to me by Ms. Allaz in our telephone conversation. 

As stated previously, I would appreciate confirmation of receipt of all my correspondences – by email, fax and registered post – from the Legal Dept at your Company Head office for whose attention such correspondence was marked. 

I would further appreciate confirmation from Allseas Legal Dept. that the matters raised by my good self have been brought to the attention of Allseas external insurers, lawyers and auditors. 

I trust you will be good enough to expedite this as a matter of urgency and I look forward to hearing from Ms. Allaz’ superior (whose name she refused to divulge to me) if he is the competent person to deal with this matter; if he is not, then please ensure that the relevant competent person will do so. 

Please also note that a hard copy of all correspondences from your good selves in this matter sent by registered post to my address below would be much appreciated. 

Thank you, Maura Harrington, Shell to Sea, Doohoma, Ballina. Co.




“Jeroen Hagelstein” <[email protected]> wrote: 

Dear Ms. Harrington 

As I emailed to you last 14 July, we thank you for your email of 10 July and additional fax of 16 July the contents of which have been duly noted. 

Yours faithfully,

Jeroen Hagelstein

Manager PR



—–Original Message—–

From: Geeve, Remon

Sent: 10 July 2008 16:49

To: Hagelstein, Jeroen

Subject: FW: Corrib Proposed Project Ireland


—–Original Message—–

From: [email protected] mailto:[email protected] ]

Sent: 10 July 2008 04:23 PM

To: [email protected] 

Subject: Corrib Proposed Project Ireland

FAO Ramon Following our telephone conversation, 2.30pm (Ireland time) 10th July 2008, per your request I put the following on record: 

(i) I spoke with Lyndsay, with Paul and with one other female whose name I was not given prior to speaking with your good self and identified myself by my full name to Lyndsay, Paul and your own good self (ii) I further informed Paul that I am an anti-Corrib activist (iii) The purpose of my telephone conversation to your company is to appraise you of facts which Shell E&P Ireland (being a wholly-owned subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc) may have understated or felt too insignificat to mention (iv) Despite the fact that Shell may claim to have all legal consents necessary to undertake the work for which, presumably, Shell has entered into a contract with your good selves, there is a not inconsiderable number of localised issues which remain unresolved and which have the potential to impact on the work schedule agreed upon and, perhaps of more import, may involve your company and your insurers as a notice party in litigation in the Irish and European Courts (v) Please note that the legal proceedings initiated by Shell in the Irish High Court in 2005 are ongoing and the validity of the consents upon which, presumably, your contract is based, remain unadjudicated upon at High Court and Supreme Court level

As stated to yourself and your colleagues I contacted your offices to appraise you of the above in the context of Shell’s global penchant for invoking force majeure. I request that you bring the content of this email to the attention of your external lawyers and your external auditors in the matter of contingencies. 

Thank you for taking my telephone call. I would appreciate your acknowledgement of this email to include confirmation that the contents herein have been brought to the attention of your external insurers, lawyers and auditors. 

Maura Harrington, Shell to Sea, Doohoma, Ballina, Co. Mayo


Shell to Sea Pirates begin Week of Action against Shell’s Solitaire

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