Greenpeace activists board Arctic-bound drilling rig

Greenpeace activists board Arctic-bound drilling rig
Credit: Greenpeace


Greenpeace activists have boarded a semi-submersible oil drilling rig destined to drill for Shell, in the Chukchi sea, offshore Alaska.

Six activists from around the world boarded the Polar Pioneer drilling rig yesterday in order to protest against Arctic drilling.

The Polar Pioneer, which is being transported across the Pacific Ocean on a 217 meters long heavy-lift vessel Blue Marlin, is one of two drilling vessels sailing towards the Arctic for Shell this year. The second is the Noble Discoverer drillship.

In its press release, Greenpeace highlights the fact that the Noble Discoverer is one of the oldest drill ships in the world. It also points to December 2014, when Noble Drilling, one of Shell’s biggest Arctic sub-contractors and owner of the Noble Discoverer, pleaded guilty to committing eight felonies in connection with Shell’s failed attempts to drill in the Arctic Ocean in 2012.

Johno Smith, an activist from New Zealand, said: “We’re here to highlight that in less than 100 days Shell is going to the Arctic to drill for oil. This pristine environment needs protecting for future generations and all life that will call it home. But instead Shell’s actions are exploiting the melting ice to increase a manmade disaster. Climate change is real and already inflicting pain and suffering on my brothers and sisters in the Pacific.

“I believe that shining a light on what Shell is doing will encourage more people to take a strong stand against them and other companies who are seeking to destroy this planet for profit. I’m just one voice out here, but I know I’m not alone, and millions if not billions of voices demanding the right to safe and healthy lives will have a huge chance of changing things.”

Both the drilling rigs are crossing the Pacific and are expected to arrive in Seattle around the middle of April before heading to the Chukchi Sea. Shell intends to use the port of Seattle as a base for the company’s Arctic fleet.

The 35 person crew on board the Greenpeace’s Esperanza have tailed the Polar Pioneer for more than 5000 nautical miles, since it left Brunei Bay in Malaysia.

Greenpeace says that the climbers will not interfere with the navigation or operation of the vessel. The climbers are are Aliyah Field, 27, from the USA, Johno Smith, 32, from New Zealand, Andreas Widlund, 27, from Sweden, Miriam Friedrich, 23, from Austria, Zoe Buckley Lennox, 21, from Australia and Jens Loewe, 46, from Germany.

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