After 48 hours, the last seven Greenpeace International activists have been removed from Statoil’s oil rig Transocean Spitsbergen in the Barents Sea.
The activists scaled the rig on Tuesday 27th May at around 5 am CET to protest the company’s plans to drill in the Norwegian Arctic, close to the Bear Island nature reserve. The activists are from Denmark, Finland, Norway, the Philippines and Sweden.
Among the activists is also 32 year old Sini Saarela from Finland, who spent over two months in Russian prison for climbing Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya rig in September last year.
— Greenpeace Esperanza (@gp_espy) May 29, 2014
Just before she was removed, Sini managed to send a message through to the Greenpeace vessel, the Esperanza: “We have been occupying Statoil’s oil rig for two full days now,” she said. “During that time Statoil has not been able to move to the drill site, nor drill for oil. The police are here now, it’s just a matter of time before they will take us down.”
Greenpeace said that the removal from the rig happened peacefully, and Transocean Spitsbergen is now moving towards the drilling site a few hours further North.
“The activists are standing up for the Arctic and Bear Island. They want to save this pristine and harsh environment from oil spills. They want to stop climate change caused by burning oil. They have a clear message to Norway: it must stop Statoil’s Arctic drilling plans,” said Sune Scheller, Greenpeace Arctic Campaigner.
On Friday at 10 am CET, Greenpeace will hand over a petition calling for the protection of Bear Island to the Norwegian Environment Minister Tine Sundtoft in Oslo. The petition is currently at 80,000+ signatures and can be seen at www.greenpeace.org/bearisland. “The activists may have been removed, but they have been joined by over 80,000 people from around the world calling on Minister Sundtoft to save Bear Island,” concluded Scheller. “Now it’s time for her to act.”