Greenpeace swimmers stop deep water drilling ship
Chevron ship forced to stop on its way to Shetland
Four Greenpeace environmental campaigners have swum out in front of a giant oil drilling ship, operated by the US energy giant Chevron, and forced it to stop its journey towards a deep water drilling site off Scotland.
The four left the Greenpeace ship Esperanza at 1.30pm this afternoon by inflatable speedboat and dived into open seas 100 miles north of Shetland. The 228-metre long Stena Carron then halted its journey.
Greenpeace intends to send waves of swimmers and campaigners in kayaks out in front of the drill ship throughout today and tomorrow to pressure the ship into turning back.
One of the swimmers, Ben Stewart, said: “That oil drill ship is the size of a sky-scraper on its side and as it cut through the water towards us I felt really scared, it’s like nothing I’ve ever done, but we are determined to stop it reaching its deepwater drilling site.
“It stopped for a few minutes but then changed course and now it’s heading for the oil field. We need to go beyond oil, we need our politicians to stop ships like this from threatening our pristine coastlines and the global climate. It shouldn’t be down to people bobbing in the water in front of ships to stop the insane rush for the last drops of oil in ever more dangerous and difficult to reach places.”
Yesterday a 100-hour occupation of the ship’s anchor chain ended when a court order forced Greenpeace to remove a purpose-built survival pod. If the campaigners had not lowered the pod they could have been forced to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds of supporters’ money to Chevron.
Just hours after the end of the pod occupation the ship left for a site in the Lagavulin oil field where it intends to drill an exploratory well in 500 metres of water. Since the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, environmental campaigners have been calling for a ban on new deep water drilling.
Greenpeace is threatening legal action against the Cameron government in an effort to stop the granting of new permits for deep water drilling. Last month Greenpeace lawyers wrote a so-called ‘letter before action’ to ministers – the precursor to seeking a judicial review of the decision to push ahead with new deep water drilling before the lessons from the BP disaster have been learned. Permits are granted by Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne.
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