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Greenpeace set for one month occupation

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners occupying the Stena Carron drill ship, off Shetland, have said they are equipped to remain attached to the vessel’s anchor chain for up to a month.

On Tuesday morning Greenpeace said they had deployed a 500 kilogram “survival pod” to the anchor chain of the 228 metre long vessel.

The development comes after two activists spent the night hanging from the chain just above the waves in a tent suspended by ropes.

Meanwhile the activists’ campaign ship Esperanza has arrived on scene and is co-ordinating the protest.

On Tuesday the pressure group said it had stopped the vessel from leaving for the West of Shetland to drill a deep water well on the Lagavulin oil prospect 160 miles north of Shetland.

Oil company Chevron, who have chartered the giant vessel, re-emphasised their statement on Tuesday accusing Greenpeace of carrying out “reckless publicity stunts”.

Two of the Esperanza crew are now secured inside the purpose built, reinforced survival pod.

One of them, Leila Deen, called on European environment ministers meeting in Norway on Thursday to ban deep sea drilling for oil.

She said: “An oil spill here would be a disaster and just as difficult to plug as the BP well in the Gulf of Mexico, but the government has so far refused to stop issuing permits for ships like this to drill.

“So that’s why we’re in this pod, equipped with supplies to last for a month. We will continue to block risky oil exploration until the government puts a moratorium on new deep sea drilling.

“When the politicians meet in Norway tomorrow they can take a huge step towards taking us beyond oil and embracing a clean energy future by banning deep water drilling. If they don’t, they’ll be held responsible when a BP-style disaster hits the North Sea.”

Greenpeace said that the campaigners inside the pod were members of the team that interrupted Cairn Energy from drilling in the waters off Greenland, last month.

The pressure group is threatening legal action against the Tory/LibDem government in an attempt to stop the granting of new permits for deep water drilling off the UK.