Greenpeace stops oil tanker entering Bosphorus

Dinosaur oil industry stamps out our right for clean energy

Press release - 4 July, 2002

Greenpeace activists board the oiltanker Crude Dio in the Bosphorus Straight entrance, into the Black Sea, as part of their campaign against climate change

Activists in inflatable boats from the Greenpeace ship MV Esperanza boarded the 274 m long 160,000 tonne oil tanker 'Crude Dio' prior to its entrance to the Bosphorus Strait. Three climbers hung a banner showing a 'dinosaur oil industry destroying wind mills' with a message that read "STOP OIL INDUSTRY. CLEAN ENERGY NOW!" . 13 activists also occupied different parts of the tanker. Greenpeace contacted the captain telling him of the peaceful action and asked him to go to anchor. Greenpeace also informed the Turkish authorities about the peaceful action and urged them not to let the oil tanker into the Bosphorus.

Greenpeace demands that oil giants stop their investments in the new oil fields at the Caspian region, threatening the Bosphorus and the world's climate and invest in safe and clean renewables instead.

"What Greenpeace is doing now is what the governments should have done since they signed the Climate Convention at Rio 10 years ago and what they should do at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg in August - stop the dinosaur oil industry. Even with the end of oil in sight in a couple of decades, they still resist positive change, by using the power of money and politics to block the safe and clean energy path, " said Melda Keskin, Greenpeace energy campaigner.

The oil industry is environmentally destructive at all stages in its life-cycle from its exploration, extraction, transportation and refining through to its end use when it is a major contributor of carbon dioxide - the number one greenhouse gas which causes global warming.

"Oil industry giants like ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, ChevronTexaco and TotalFinaElf are continuing to ignore the local and global ecological threats to the Bosphorus and the climate. At the same time, with support from the international financial institutions like the World Bank and from governmental Export Credit Agencies billions of dollars are being invested in new oil fields in the Caspian region," said Keskin.

Furthermore, the fossil fuel industry - led by the biggest, ExxonMobil - either blocks climate saving efforts and renewables' developments worldwide, or uses realtively small renewables investments as a green mask to cover their multi-billion dollar unsustainable oil business, like Shell and BP. At the beginning of the 21st century, a phase out of fossil fuels like oil is needed to prevent global warming and dangerous climate change, which is the greatest "accident" our planet is facing today.

The only solution to the local and global threat posed by the oil industry is to shift from the use of fossil fuels as a primary source of energy to truly sustainable, environmentally friendly renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass, tidal and wave and small scale hydro-power. These technologies are available and competitive today - all that's required is the political will to ignore the powerful lobbies of the fossil fuel industy, remove their subsidies and shift to supporting renewables as well as energy efficiency.

Such a shift will not only create new industry but will enable the massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions necessary to protect the climate and will contribute to global security by providing basic energy services to 2 billion of the world's poorest thereby helping to reduce economic, social and political instability.

"The oil age must soon be replaced by the solar age starting today. Here is the question governments must answer: Will they go the dinosaur's way by producing and selling a harmful source of energy, burning and drowning the world or will they ensure a switch to clean, safe, more sustainable energy technologies such as wind, solar, biomass, hydrogen systems now, before it is too late?" Keskin said.

World leaders still can use the chance to make the Earth Summit in Johannesburg a milestone to start the clean energy era, making the right choice for the world. The Greenpeace ship the MV Esparanza will be in South Africa during the summit helping to focus world attention on the important decisions being made there. The ship's work is just part of Greenpeace's Countdown to Johannesburg, which will involve activities across the globe. Greenpeace is campaigning for governments to take the lead in global sustainability, and stop abdicating their responsibilities to corporations for protection of the planet.