This morning, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant spoke via satellite phone with

This morning, Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant spoke via satellite phone with the dread pirates Greenpeace: six environmentalists who on Monday scaled the side of a Shell oil rig that’s being tugged across the Pacific Ocean to the Port of Seattle.

Despite static, voice distortion, and several dropped calls, Sawant spoke for about 20 minutes with Aliyah Fields, the American member of the international team. “I hope the satellite gods are more cooperative in the coming few minutes,” said Sawant during an early patch of silence.

“We’re doing very well,” Fields eventually told Sawant, adding that the volunteers feel encouraged by the support they’ve received from Seattleites who have pushed back against Shell’s scheduled use of Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle.

“We’re here [on the rig] because Shell already has demonstrated a terrible track record” on environmental issues, Fields said. “We feel very strongly that Shell has to stay out of the Arctic if we are to have any chance of avoiding the worst effects of climate change.

“[This] is a global issue,” she added. “The health of the Arctic affects all of us.”The six Greenpeace members currently aboard the Shell oil rig headed for the Port of Seattle.

Sawant called the green buccaneers “heroic.” “You are doing tremendously amazing work for us,” whereas public officials and particularly the Port of Seattle, she said, have “completely let us down.” The Port, she said, should “immediately” revoke its agreement to let the oil company use Terminal 5 as a “home base” for its Arctic drilling fleet.

That’s unlikely to happen. At a recent Civic Cocktail event, commissioner Tom Albro said that while he deeply cares about the environment, backing out of an already-signed contract would shake industry confidence in the Port as a reliable trade partner.

Environmentalists have vowed that if officials do nothing, they will form a kayak flotilla (call it the Little Armada That Could) to stop Shell from using the Port. Sawant seconded this plan during the call, saying that “we’re gonna provide all support for the kayak flotilla.”

Asked if she would personally float in the ‘tilla, the middle-aged economics professor was ambivalent. “I don’t know if I’m equipped to be in a kayak in terms of my experience with … sea activities,” Sawant said. “I might, but even if I don’t, I’ll be in solidarity with everybody who’s gonna be on a kayak.” She said that for the time being, Seattle environmentalists’ should concentrate on organizing “a movement for mass, nonviolent disobedience … to stop this insanity.”

Greenpeace officials say they are coordinating with local environmentalist groups to organize a “family friendly” event on April 26 at 2 p.m. at (probably) Myrtle Edwards Park, according to a spokesperson. We’ll post more details as they become available.