Having recently travelled through the aptly-named “Iceberg Alley” here off Greenland, I’ve seen first-hand the extreme conditions Cairn Energy want to drill for oil in this year. The sight of giant chunks of ice, some of them hidden just under the near-freezing waters of Baffin Bay, suddenly appearing out of the fog within a few hundred metres of you certainly made me think twice about the wisdom of being out there on a ship.

But it also made patently clear the huge risks this icy environment would pose to any oil spill clean-up operations. Indeed just recently secret UK government documents obtained by Greenpeace showed how worried they are about the near-impossibility of trying to cap a leaking Arctic oil well.

You would have thought that in light of these risks, publishing a plan to show people how you think you would deal with an oil spill in the high North would be a sensible idea.

Unless you happen to work for Cairn Energy, that is.

Because Cairn, in its wisdom, has steadfastly refused to publish an oil spill response plan for Greenland, despite repeated requests. No one seems to know where this document is.

After coming face to face with mountainous icebergs in the very waters Cairn wants to drill in, I decided to call the one vessel that should have a copy - the Leiv Eiriksson.

If anyone has a copy, the oil rig will, right?

See for yourself...

Photo: The Leiv Eiriksson off the coast of Greenland 05/25/2011 © Steve Morgan / Greenpeace