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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living