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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea