Danes block Greenpeace vessel in Arctic

Alan Jones,Pa
Monday 23 August 2010 17:10 BST

A Danish warship today confronted a Greenpeace ship which is on a mission to target "dangerous" deep sea oil drilling sites, the environmental group claimed.

The incident happened in the freezing seas off Greenland as the protest ship Esperanza approached one of the world's most controversial oil drilling projects operated by the British company Cairn Energy, said Greenpeace.

The Greenpeace ship left London 12 days ago vowing to challenge the oil industry at the site of a dangerous deepwater drilling project in the wake of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, but did not reveal its intended location until today when the ship arrived in the seas west of Disko Island in the Arctic.

The Danish government sent the Vaedderen, a Thetis-class warship, to protect two drilling sites being operated by Britain's Cairn Energy, said the environmental group tonight, adding that the Esperanza has been warned that the ship will be raided and the captain arrested if it breaches a security zone set up in the area.

Greenpeace campaigner Leila Deen, speaking from the Esperanza, said: "To see a huge drilling rig in this beautiful and fragile environment is deeply shocking. The tragic oil disasters in the Gulf and in China this year clearly illustrate the need to go beyond oil.

"Companies like Cairn need to leave the Arctic alone and start developing the clean tools that will actually help us get off fossil fuels for good.

"Climate change is already having an impact on millions of people around the world but oil companies are completely ignoring the new reality we face. That's why we're here to deliver a message to them in person - go home now."

More than 30 crew are on board the Esperanza, which was once a Russian firefighting vessel and is equipped with several months' supplies, boats and a helicopter.

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