Greenpeace ship continues Arctic drilling protest after rig climbers are removed by police

Nyhet - 29 mai, 2014
The Barents Sea, May 29, 2014 -- The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is blocking the arrival of Statoil’s Transocean Spitsbergen oil rig in the Arctic by occupying the exact location where the company plans to drill the world’s northernmost well.

The move follows an earlier attempt to end the protest by Norwegian authorities, who removed seven activists from the same rig in the early hours of Thursday morning following a 48 hour occupation. All activists have now been released without charge.

Speaking from the bridge of the Esperanza, Greenpeace Arctic Campaigner Sune Scheller said.

“We weren’t sure whether to continue this action after two cold days on the rig, but the public support we’ve received has been a huge boost. The Esperanza is a small ship but we are determined to stay on top of this drilling site and stop Statoil from risking Bear Island.

This company is desperate to present an image of safety, but the world is starting to see the dangerous truth behind its fancy logo. Arctic oil drilling is risky, it is dangerous, and it must be stopped.”

Seven Greenpeace International activists were removed from Statoil’s oil rig Transocean Spitsbergen after 48 hours between 0330 and 0530 CET this morning. The activists were taken by helicopter to a police station in Tromsø but have all now been released. The activists are not under any charges.

Statoil has a permit to start some drilling operations, but cannot drill into oil bearing rock before the Norwegian Ministry of climate and environment rules on a Greenpeace complaint

“Common sense says that drilling near a protected nature reserve in Arctic waters is a recipe for disaster. Statoil’s own experts say that an oil spill could reach Bear Island in less than a week. Over 80,000 people have asked Tine Sundtoft to reconsider her decision to allow drilling here, and the world is watching her decision. 

On Friday at 10 am CET, Greenpeace will hand over a petition calling for the protection of Bear Island to the Norwegian Environment Minister Tine Sundtoft in Oslo. The petition is currently at 80,000+ signatures.


Pictures & video from the activity available on.


- Birgitte Lesanner, Greenpeace communications officer (Danish/English), +45 2395 1214


The Norwegian Government has committed not to allow oil operations near the ice edge, due to the difficulty of cleaning up oil in ice. However, based on recent research from the Polar Institute, the ice edge can appear as short as 25 kilometers from Statoil’s proposed drill site. Greenpeace sees this as a clear breach of the policy, and has requested the Environment Minister to reject Statoil’s application.

Statoil’s drilling project is scheduled to start at the end of May and the Transocean Spitsbergen was due to arrive at the drilling site on Tuesday, the 27th of May. Statoil has said that the rig will not move to the drilling site as long as the activists are on board.