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Greenpeace step up Atlantic action

Environmental campaigners yesterday stepped up action against the oil industry in a battle to protect coral systems in the North Atlantic frontier.

A Greenpeace vessel - 400 miles from Rockall - launched two inflatables, each towing an oil barrel. The seismic vessel Atlantic Explorer carries air guns which send out high decibel explosions to survey the sea bed and the inflatables navigated the testing apparatus and attached one of the rattling barrels directly to a gun and another to a streamer buoy. The action took place as campaigners brought occupation of Rockall into its 38th day. The area, known as tranche 52, is licensed to Conoco.

Greenpeace claims the Government's granting of licences for oil exploration and licensing is unlawful and that ministers are failing to protect the reef.