Greenpeace activists stage oil rig protest

A A A

Environmental activists managed to get on board an oil exploration rig in Arctic waters today as part of an ongoing protest against drilling.

Greenpeace said 18 activists climbed onto the Leiv Eiriksson rig off the coast of Greenland to demand details of how the operator would respond to any oil spill.



Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy said drilling was suspended after the protesters breached a restricted area on the rig.



Activists launched from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza in five inflatable speedboats from outside an 500 metre exclusion zone set up by Danish authorities.



Campaigner Ben Ayliffe said: "Cairn Energy is hiding its oil spill response plan so we're going to the one place where there must be a copy of it.



"It's obvious why Cairn won't tell the world how it would clean up a BP-style oil spill here in the Arctic, and that's because it can't be done.



"Experts say the freezing temperatures and remote location mean a deep water blow-out in this stunning pristine environment would be an irreversible disaster.



"If they published the plan, the dangers of investing in such a high risk venture would be laid bare. We have to draw a line in the ice and stop the Arctic oil rush."



Cairn announced this week that it had begun drilling in two wells in the region.



The two wells are approximately 100 miles and 185 miles off Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. Each drilling operation is in water deeper than 2,953ft.



The drilling had been delayed by two Greenpeace protesters who occupied the company's 53,000-tonne drilling vessel, operated on behalf of Cairn Energy.



The protesters, who hung from the underside of the rig in an Arctic survival pod and had enough supplies to keep them there for 10 days, were removed by Danish police.



Cairn has asked a court in the Netherlands to legally prevent Greenpeace from disrupting any future deep-sea drilling operations.



In a statement, the company said: "Cairn confirms that members of Greenpeace have boarded the semi submersible drilling vessel, the Leiv Eiriksson, owned by Ocean Rig. The Leiv Eiriksson, a fifth generation semi submersible, is taking part in Cairn's 2011 exploration programme offshore Greenland, where the Company is operating at the invitation of the Greenland Government.



"The protesters have breached the safety exclusion zone and entered a restricted area on the rig. In accordance with the strict Health and Safety practices employed in this drilling programme and in order to ensure safe operating conditions, drilling has been suspended.



"The Greenland authorities, who removed two protesters, earlier this week have been alerted about this latest incident.



"Cairn respects the rights of individuals and organisations to express their views in a safe and peaceful manner but would be concerned with any action that presents a risk to the safety of people and/or equipment."

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

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Support - Helpdesk Analyst

£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a customer focu...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Development Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Learning & Development Manager - North London - £53,000

£45000 - £53000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: Learning & Develo...

Recruitment Genius: Media Sales Executive - Magazines

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's largest regional newspaper pub...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn