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article imageGreenpeace: 15 protestors occupy oil rig

By Elke Nagy     May 27, 2014 in Environment
A flurry of intense activity attests to Greenpeace's stoic resolve to bring a halt to offshore oil drilling in the Arctic, and to create a protected sanctuary around the North Pole.
On Tuesday 27 May, 15 protestors occupied a Statoil drilling rig, Transocean Spitsbergen, heading to Bear Island. A banner has been hung, and the protestors are determined to stay on the rig for as long as possible, despite the chilly conditions.
Bear Island is a nature reserve, and contains snow-white Arctic foxes, 1 million breeding sea birds and the odd roaming polar bear.
Another rig, GSP Saturn, was intercepted by 30 protestors in the Dutch port of IJmuiden. The rig was on its way to the remote Pechora sea. The protestors were removed after five hours, and six are still under arrest. All in all, activists from 12 nations were involved.
Plus a few weeks ago in Rotterdam, Greenpeace made an unsuccessful bid to block the delivery of Russia's first oil from its Prirazlomanaya oil platform in the Arctic.
An email sent to Greenpeace supporters today by Pete Speller, Digital Campaigner, Greenpeace International, implored, It’s not easy hanging out on a freezing oil rig in the Arctic. Can you build the pressure on Norway AND keep the spirits of the team warm by adding your name to the petition?
So far, this worldwide petition has attracted the support of over 5 million people, including Sir Paul McCartney, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and 11 Nobel peace prize winners.
In the face of potential adverse publicity, companies have already backed away from oil drilling projects located in the Arctic. For instance, the French oil company Total, and the Russian oil giant Lukoil. The Finnish government also adopted the concept of an Arctic sanctuary as official policy last year.
Greenpeace International Arctic campaigner Ben Ayliffe said, The Arctic matters to us all, and protecting it demands a truly global response. We cannot let a reckless club of international oil companies hunt for the last drops as the ice melts away. The websites of Shell, Gazprom or Statoil might look different but their willingness to ignore the reality of oil spills and the human cost of climate change is exactly the same.
Shell has already shown just how difficult it is to work in the US Arctic, where extreme cold and remote conditions led to a series of embarrassing failures. Over five million people are now telling these companies that Arctic drilling isn’t worth the risk, either to the environment or their own reputation.
Given many areas of the Arctic are becoming increasingly more accessible as a result of glacial retreat due to global warming, these types of conflicts are bound to intensify.
More about Greenpeace, Arctic, offshore oil, Bear Island, Protest
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