Letting energy giant BP drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight is simply “not an option”, Sea Shepherd says, as it docks its conservation boat at Port Adelaide.
Former Greens leader Bob Brown was among those on the Steve Irwin ship as it reached the port after touring the Bight to promote its beauty and biodiversity.
The ship’s doors will be open to South Australians this weekend to discourage them from supporting BP’s oil exploration proposal, planned to begin this year.
A BP spokeswoman says the company is just days away from resubmitting an environmental plan for the project to the relevant regulatory authority – its third attempt so far.
While their first submission to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) discussed drilling wells across four permit areas, this plan will focus on only two specific locations.
Mr Brown has pointed his finger at the prime minister to halt the project, believing it poses serious environment risks.
“The real arbiter between this vision for Australia’s future and BP’s last century plan for a dangerous deep-sea oil exploration is our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull,” he said.
Sea Shepherd says oil spills like the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico are among the risks of the oil project but BP says it can both drill and keep the Bight safe.
“We believe the oil and gas industry and marine environments can safely exist together and regular offshore drilling activity around Australia, over many years, is evidence of this,” its spokeswoman said.
“In the very unlikely event that there was a well incident, we would take action immediately.”