Activists fit solar panels to protest pod

Greenpeace campaigners who attached a purpose-built reinforced survival pod to an oil drilling ship to stop it moving are spending their fourth day hanging from the anchor chain. And according […]

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By Kelvin Ross

Greenpeace campaigners who attached a purpose-built reinforced survival pod to an oil drilling ship to stop it moving are spending their fourth day hanging from the anchor chain.

And according to the former policeman who was responsible for removing Greenpeace activists from the Brent Spar rig 15 years ago, they could be there for some time.

Ex-Lothian and Borders Police chief constable George Esson said yesterday that there were no easy options for the operators of the ship.

“Occupations like this are difficult enough to deal with in a building on land, but the sea makes it even more difficult. Critics looking on from the sidelines have to understand how difficult this is. There is no simple remedy – if there was, it would have been used.”

Yesterday the activists attached solar panels to the 8ft diameter pod to ensure they have power to sustain their occupation for as long as a month.

The ship, operated by energy giant Chevron, was about to sail for a site in the Lagavulin oil field before drilling an exploratory well in 500 metres of water.

Greenpeace wants a ban on all deepwater drilling west of Shetland following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

One of the campaigners in the pod is Leila Deen. She said: “We’re secure, safe and comfortable, and we’re in this for the long haul. With our pod attached to the twelve tonne anchor there’s no way this ship can leave to drill for oil.”