Greenpeace activists leave Arctic-bound oil rig

Six Greenpeace activists who scaled Shell’s oil rig in the middle of the Pacific Ocean last week have left after six days. They climbed aboard the Polar Pioneer and were […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Six Greenpeace activists who scaled Shell’s oil rig in the middle of the Pacific Ocean last week have left after six days.

They climbed aboard the Polar Pioneer and were protesting against the energy giant’s plans to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic.

Shell had filed a complaint in federal court in Alaska seeking an order to remove the activists.

But the “worsening weather conditions at sea” that were expected to bring high swells prompted the protestors to leave the rig on Saturday, Greenpeace said.

They climbed down into inflatable boats and returned to the environmental group’s ship Esperanza, which had been stationed in the area.

Aliyah Field, from the US, one of the six volunteers on the rig, said: “I might be climbing off this oil rig but this is merely a transition into the next step of saving the Arctic. I can’t wait to join the millions of voices, the volunteers in Seattle and all Americans who believe we deserve better, safer, cleaner forms of energy. My voice cannot be silenced and neither can the millions of others taking a stand against Shell.”

The energy company said it was “pleased” the Court agreed to grant a restraining order against Greenpeace.

A Shell spokesperson added: “It’s unfortunate we had to pursue this legal action but we don’t want a repeat of previous illegal stunts, including the group’s illegal boarding on the Polar Pioneer drilling rig, this month.

“These tactics are not peaceful protests. They jeopardise the safety of the people working on board and the protestors themselves, especially aboard a moving vessel at sea.  We’re always open to an honest discussion about the challenges and benefits of exploring for energy in the Arctic but we cannot condone Greenpeace’s unlawful and unsafe tactics. Safety remains paramount.”