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?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?