30 Arrests amid Greenpeace rig protest

A A A

Thirty people were arrested today as the environment group Greenpeace began an occupation of an oil rig in a bid to stop drilling in the Atlantic Ocean.

Four protesters climbed on to legs of the Sovereign Explorer in an attempt to prevent it from being towed from the Cromarty Firth near Inverness, where it has been kept over the winter, to drill west of the Hebrides.

The moves followed an occupation of another rig in the same area last weekend by activists who have still not been caught by police after escaping in a motor launch.

Today a spokesman for Northern Constabulary said a total of 30 people were arrested during an operation which began last night.

She said officers were monitoring the protesters from the shore but none were on the rig or planning to approach it.

It is understood the force was tipped off that the protest was due to begin.

The rig was due to begin drilling in the waters west of the Outer Hebrides - the so-called Atlantic Frontier - under a Government licence to explore the area for oil.

The two Greenpeace campaigners who occupied the Jack Bates exploration rig last Sunday had to come down the following afternoon after Sovereign Oil went to court and a judge granted the company an interdict.

But they were not arrested or approached by police after leaving their protest on a motor launch and a report was being prepared for the procurator fiscal.

Today Northern Constabulary said it had no plans to arrest the activists on the rig until they came off and said they had no boat in the area and would wait for them to come ashore.

Greenpeace claims exploration puts the environment west of the Outer Hebrides at risk, threatening its status as Europe's most important habitat for whales and coral reefs.

Rob Gueterbrock, the group's climate and energy campaigns spokesman, said: "All of Britain's conservation groups oppose this drilling yet John Prescott refuses to even comment."

He said the Greenpeace activists intended to continue their occupation of the rig, which is chartered to Marathon Oil, until the Government suspends drilling on the Atlantic frontier.

A spokesman for Marathon Oil said the rig was not yet on contract to the company and was undergoing upgrading work to make it suitable for the deep waters in the Atlantic.

"We have held a licence to drill in this area since 1997. For various reasons we were unable to drill last year and had always planned to drill in the second quarter of this year," he said.

"These activities are entirely within the law and sanctioned by the UK Government.

"Greenpeace is all about soundbites and selective science. The rest of us have to live in the real world."

The rig, owned by TransOcean FedCo For Ex (TSF) was at anchor when it was boarded.

The Marathon spokesman said the two firms were now working together to explore all options and confirmed legal action was one of the possibilities under discussion.

Greenpeace is already facing a £1 million damages claim for its occupation of the Jack Bates platform last week.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
John Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
books
Arts and Entertainment
filmSir Ian McKellen will play retired detective in new film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Technical Support Analyst (C++, Windows, Linux, Perl, Graduate)

£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global leader in trading platforms and e...

Junior IT Consultant (SQL, Java, C++, Oracle, Graduate)

£28000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A fast growing consultancy to the financia...

Technical Support Analyst (Windows, Linux, Unix, Graduate)

£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Support Analyst - Liverpool Stre...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil