Greenpeace has put two more protesters on a Transocean rig operated by BP just hours after the police removed other activists, some of whom have already appeared in court, who have in the last few hours been arrested.
The campaign group said two activists boarded the rig at 4 am on Friday, six days after the first two activists went aboard to protest the expansion of drilling operations by BP in the Vorlich oil field in the North Sea, UK media report.
Since the protest began there have now been 11 arrests with five activists charged in a court in Inverness in the north of Scotland with disorderly conduct.
Greenpeace has said the two protesters plan to stay on the rig which is moored in the Cromarty Firth for as long as possible.
“BP is heading out to drill a new well giving them access to 30m barrels of oil – something we can’t afford in the middle of a climate emergency. We can’t give up and let oil giants carry on with business as usual because that means giving up on a habitable planet and our kids’ future. The UK government has announced a target of net zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 – we have started to enforce it,” John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace UK, said in a statement.
A Reckless Act
The police had to use 12 specialist officers, who were flown onto the rig by helicopter to remove the protesters. Both the police and BP have called the protest reckless.
Ch Supt George MacDonald, the local police commander, said on Thursday night the Greenpeace protests had been potentially reckless and could have endangered people – a message echoed by BP.
“The particular nature of this protest on an oil platform within a marine environment made this an extremely complex and challenging operation,” Ch Supt George MacDonald, the local police commander, said in a statement on Thursday.
BP accused Greenpeace of orchestrating a reckless publicity stunt that endangered people’s lives.
“We share the protesters’ concerns about climate change, we support the Paris agreement [to cap global temperature rises at 1.5C] and are committed to playing our part to advance the energy transition. However, progress to a lower carbon future will depend on coming together, understanding each other’s perspectives and working to find solutions, not dangerous PR stunts that exacerbate divisions and create risks to both life and property,” the firm said in a statement.
The rig in question is a massive 27,000-tonne platform, which is operated by the American firm Transocean on behalf of BP, who may also take further legal action against Greenpeace including suing them for damages.
Main photograph taken from Greenpeace, by Kristian Buus