Greenpeace plan one month protest on North Sea drill ship

Greenpeace campaigners who boarded an oil drilling ship near the Shetland Isles in protest at exploration in the North Sea have enough food and drink to stay for a month, the group said Wednesday.

Two activists from the environmental lobby group spent Tuesday night in a tent suspended by ropes from the anchor chain of the Stena Carron drill ship, which is owned by US oil giant Chevron.

The group has attached a purpose-built, two-metre-wide “survival pod” containing two more activists. They are protected from the elements and have provisions to last them a month, Greenpeace UK said.

The group is campaigning for a moratorium on drilling in the North Sea to avoid a possible repeat of the disaster sparked by the devastating oil spill at the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

“An oil spill here would be a disaster and just as difficult to plug as the BP well in the Gulf of Mexico, but the government has so far refused to stop issuing permits for ships like this to drill,” said activist Leila Deen.

“So that’s why we’re in this pod, equipped with supplies to last for a month. We will continue to block risky oil exploration until the government puts a moratorium on new deep sea drilling.”

Chevron was unavailable for comment on the latest development, but a spokesman on Tuesday condemned the Greenpeace action as “foolhardy” and a “reckless publicity stunt”.

The company added: “Chevron’s first priority is always safety. We are confident our operations are safe and we can drill deepwater wells in the Atlantic Margin safely and without environmental harm.”