The eight Greenpeace activists arrested during their occupation of a Shell-chartered drillship were today remanded for a further two weeks, till May 3rd, pending ongoing negotiations over the charges they will face.
Greenpeace is hopeful of a reasonable and fair outcome on this date.
Seven of the activists climbed the drilling tower of the Noble Discoverer on February 24, while it was moored in Port Taranaki. All were arrested after a 77-hour occupation of the tower. An eighth activist was arrested on the first day of the operation.
Shell is spearheading a push to exploit the Arctic for oil, as climate change causes the average summer sea ice to shrink rapidly.
Those who climbed the tower are charged with burglary – not because they were alleged to have stolen anything or done anything dishonest, but because it is alleged they were there and committed another offence while at the Port - namely going onto the Noble Discoverer.
“Our activists never shy away from the consequences of their actions. But those who took part in this important campaign are not burglars and this charge is not considered appropriate to reflect their actions” says Greenpeace New Zealand Climate Campaigner Steve Abel.
The actions of this team has brought the campaign to protect the Arctic to global attention, and inspired hundreds of thousands to join that battle to protect the Arctic.
Actress Lucy Lawless, who is one of those charged, says: “Seven of us climbed that drill ship but now 376,000 people have added their names to the call for Shell to stay out of the Arctic. That figure is growing every day. All of us are proud to have played a part in warning the world about Shell’s plans.
“The fight to save the Arctic is destined to become one of the defining environmental struggles of our age,” Abel says.
Shell wants to become the first oil major to begin production in the Arctic.
While the eight activists were travelling to Taranaki, Greenpeace activists in Russia took action by bringing the Save the Arctic message to a meeting of investors and oil industry representatives in Moscow. Twenty-two activists were arrested following that action.
“Let’s embrace clean energy; we’re going to have to anyway, so why not do it before they cause a major oil spill in the Arctic, and consign our grandchildren to an uncertain and dangerous world?” Lawless asks.