Protesters shut down 'dangerous' Arctic oil drill

A A A

Environmental campaigners today claimed to have shut down a "dangerous" oil drilling operation by a British energy company in the Arctic.

Greenpeace said four expert climbers in inflatable speedboats had evaded Danish navy commanders to climb up the inside of the Cairn Energy oil rig off Greenland.

The four campaigners are now hanging from the rig 15m above the icy Arctic ocean in tents suspended from ropes, halting its drilling operation, Greenpeace said.

The campaigners, who are protesting against what they claim are the "huge risks" energy companies are taking with the environment by drilling for oil in deep water, say they have enough supplies to occupy the tents for several days.

They claim that if they halt drilling for a short time, Cairn will struggle to meet the deadline to complete exploration before the winter conditions set in, forcing the company to abandon the search for oil off Greenland until next year.

Sim McKenna, from the US, who is one of the climbers, said: "We've got to keep the energy companies out of the Arctic and kick our addiction to oil, that's why we're going to stop this rig from drilling for as long as we can.

"The BP Gulf oil disaster showed us it's time to go beyond oil.

"The drilling rig we're hanging off could spark an Arctic oil rush, one that would pose a huge threat to the climate and put this fragile environment at risk."















The Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, set sail from London last month with a pledge to target what the environmental group described as one of the 10 most dangerous deep water drilling sites in the world.

Greenpeace said it wanted to highlight problems with oil that went "far beyond" the disaster at BP's Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and pledged to confront the industry head-on over its "reckless" pursuit of oil.



Last week the campaigners said they were confronted by a Danish warship sent to protect the drilling operation in the seas off Greenland, as the Esperanza approached the site.



Greenpeace said it had been warned that the ship would be raided and the captain arrested if it breached a security zone set up in the area.



The following day, Cairn announced it had found gas in thin sands at the site - an indication there could be oil in the area.



The campaigners are concerned that a discovery of oil could prompt an oil rush by major companies in the Arctic, threatening the fragile environment of the region and providing a new source of a fossil fuel which contributes to climate change.



Greenpeace campaigner Leila Deen, from London, speaking from the Esperanza, said the climbers wanted to stop the drilling - which should have halted when the activists breached a 500m (547-yard) cordon around the rig - for as long as possible.



"Cairn have quite a short window in which they can drill up here because the seasons change and the ice comes in."



The environmental group had targeted the Cairn exploration rig in the Arctic because the region "is really symbolic of the state of crisis the world is in", she said.



"We're facing catastrophic climate change, yet the oil companies drill for the last drop of oil.



"It brings it all home to see tugs pulling icebergs away from the rig - it shows how far we've gone to keep our addiction to fossil fuels going."



She said the exploration of the virtually untouched region, where seals, humpback whales and sea lions could be seen, showed what was wrong with the oil industry and the world's addiction to oil.



She also said it highlighted the impact of fossil fuels on climate change, with Greenland glaciers melting and icebergs falling into the sea as a result of warming temperatures.



At the height of the BP oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, marine pollution experts warned the "nightmare" oil spill would be one that stemmed from drilling in the Arctic.



They warned that, in an Arctic spill, oil would only evaporate and break down slowly and would affect the "albedo", or reflective, effect of the region which helps maintain its climate.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable