Blogger profile

Ben Ayliffe

Ben is a staff member from Greenpeace UK. A keen ornithologist who has worked on many Greenpeace issues, Ben is head of the Arctic oil campaign. He lives in London and watches a lot of Arsenal matches.

  • Right now, the 30 activists and crew from the Greenpeace International ship Arctic Sunrise are in custody in Murmansk. They have been under armed guard since last Thursday when the Russian authorities forced their way onto our ship and took the crew and activists captive.

    They did so following a peaceful direct action the day before against an oil platform, Prirazlomnaya, that belongs to the Russian energy giant Gazprom.

    You may be wondering why the team on the Arctic Sunrise were prepared to take direct action to stop Gazprom? Well here is the answer:

    1. Prirazlomnaya is the first platform to start oil production in the ice covered Arctic

    Energy giant Gazprom is Russia's biggest company, accounting for 10% of the country's GDP, and it is set to play a key role in President Vladimir P... Read more >

  • Greenpeace Training with the Safety Pod. 09/09/2013 © Denis Sinyakov / Greenpeace

    Greenpeace International has a long and proud history of peaceful protests in defence of the environment, but right now Russian authorities are holding 30 of our activists on board the Arctic Sunrise for opposing the reckless oil company Gazprom.

    It comes after officials from the Russian security service FSB, armed with guns and knives, abruptly stormed the ship using a helicopter and ropes. Once on the ship, they rounded up our activists and ordered them into the mess.

    It was a swift and aggressive follow-up to the arrest of two other Greenpeace International activists who climbed Gazprom's dangerous Arctic drilling platform earlier this week. They're now being held with their fellow activists.

    The Arctic Sunrise arrived in these icy waters alongside millions of people around the worl...

    Read more >
  • Telling the Arctic Truth

    Blogpost by Ben Ayliffe - April 24, 2013 at 22:27

    “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.” — Oscar Wilde

    With so much at stake in the Arctic, and so much mind-boggling corporate ineptitude at play in places like Alaska, Greenpeace International has taken matters into its own hands — or rather, put the power back in the hands of the everyday workers who are confronted nearly daily with the reality that the industry is simply not Arctic Ready.

    The new Arctic Truth website aims to encourage employees and subcontractors of oil companies involved in Arctic drilling to come forward and to help expose the incredible risks corporations are taking as they look to plunder the resources of this pristine region — particularly on issues such as operational safety, bad practices and pot... Read more >

  • Oh Council, where art thou?

    Blogpost by Ben Ayliffe - February 5, 2013 at 11:09

    While the thought of official councils — with their high-level policy workshops and multilateral task forces — is enough to send most sensible people into fits of abysmal loathing, there is one such council that anyone passionate about the high north should care about: the Arctic Council.

    Laudable aims

    Created by the Ottawa Declaration in 1996, the Arctic Council is “a high level intergovernmental forum to provide a means for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States.” Of particular importance to the Council are “issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.”

    These are fine, noble words and laudable aims. But, as my dear grandmother often reminded me, such words tend not to butter many parsnips. Read more >

    Not much to show for though...

  • Shell's Arctic oil rig hits the rocks

    Blogpost by Ben Ayliffe - January 3, 2013 at 13:22

    Shell's Arctic oil rig runs aground in Alaska

    In another example of why drilling for oil in the Arctic is such a monumentally bad idea, Shell’s drilling rig, the Kulluk, has run aground off the island of Sitkalidak, near Kodiak in Alaska.

    The ancient rig was being towed back to harbour after a spectacularly unsuccessful summer drilling season when it ran into serious trouble and hit the shore.

    Last Thursday the Kulluk was being towed from the Arctic by Shell’s brand new $200 million tug the Aiviq when it hit heavy weather in the Bering Sea that caused the 400 foot towing line to break and the rig to drift free.

    By Friday the Aiviq managed to reconnect with the Kulluk, but it “experienced multiple engines failures” 50 miles south of Kodiak Island, causing the rig to drift free once again in 35ft seas and winds of 40mph.

    On S... Read more >

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