The Barents Sea, 27 May 2014 - Greenpeace International activists from eight countries have scaled a Statoil contracted oil rig to protest the company’s plans to drill the northernmost well in the Norwegian Arctic, close to the Bear Island nature reserve.
The activists include 32 year old Sini Saarela from Finland, who spent over two months in Russian prison for climbing another Arctic oil rig in September last year. She is currently attached to the oil rig Transocean Spitsbergen and commented:
"Bear Island is a breathtaking part of the Arctic and thousands of us are determined to protect it. After visiting this mysterious island for the first time last week, I find it hard to imagine that anyone could be so irresponsible as to threaten it with oil spills. If Statoil caused a major accident here the oil could reach the nesting place of a million seabirds in less than a week".
"I took action in Russia last year to stop exactly the same recklessness as I can see here in Norway. We ask everyone to tell the Norwegian government to stop this dangerous rush into the beautiful Arctic environment and rethink its increasingly desperate hunt for oil".
Last Friday, the Norwegian Environment Agency announced that Statoil's drilling project would be suspended, pending a complaint from Greenpeace which was backed by 50,000 signatures from its supporters across the world. Monday evening, after heavy pressure from Statoil, the Ministry of Environment lifted the suspension, despite the fact that the Minister of Environment has not finalized her verdict. Greenpeace has condemned the Ministry's decision and is calling on the Minister of Environment Tine Sundtoft to stop the drilling.
Greenpeace International activists from eight countries scaled the Statoil oil rig Transocean Spitsbergen at 5:00 Central European Time in the Barents Sea, 175 kilometres from the Bear Island nature reserve. The activists have food and supplies to stay on the rig for several days. Meanwhile, the Greenpeace ship Esperanza will keep on protesting peacefully.
In a separate direct action last night, activists from Greenpeace Netherlands blocked a Gazprom operated drill rig in the port of IJmuiden on its way to the Russian Arctic. The group said the two protests were evidence of a growing global campaign against oil drilling in the high north which has attracted five million signatures worldwide.
Please contact Greenpeace for more information on either activity.
Pictures & video from the activity will soon be available on: http://photo.greenpeace.org/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&ALID=27MZIF3CYY_Y&CT=Album
Juha Aromaa, Greenpeace communications officer (Finnish/English), +358 50 369 6202,