ENVIRONMENTAL campaign group Greenpeace claim to have stopped the huge drilling ship Stena Carron in its tracks for the third day running.
Stena Carron left Lerwick harbour on Saturday after serving a court order on Greenpeace forcing them to abandon their protest attached to the vessel’s anchor chain.
However when the ship was 100 miles north of Shetland on Sunday morning Greenpeace campaigners entered the sea from their support ship Esperanza and swam in front of it.
When the ship sailed through the first wave of swimmer, a second wave swam out and penned the ship in. The ship has not moved since as Greenpeace maintain their cordon on a rota basis.
The ship is just nine limes away from its destination, the Lagavulin oil prospect where Chevron want to drill an exploratory well in 1,500 metres of water.
One of the swimmers, Ben Stewart, was in the team that swam in front of the ship until midnight on Monday.
Speaking on Tuesday morning by satellite phone on the Esperanza he said: “It’s getting tiring being out there but we’re determined to keep going. It’s a bit scary to paddle away beneath the huge bow of that ship, it’s the size of a skyscraper on its side, but every day we keep it here is a day less it can drill for oil in deep water.
“We need to go beyond oil, we have to invest in clean energy otherwise there’ll be BP-style disasters hitting the coastlines of Europe and the fight to beat climate change will be lost.”
The swimmers are spending four hours in the water before resting for eight hours then going in again. They are wearing immersion suits to keep warm and lifejackets to stay safe.
Greenpeace is threatening legal action against the UK government in an effort to stop the granting of new permits for deep water drilling.
Last month Greenpeace lawyers wrote a ‘letter before action’ to ministers as a 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.
A ban on deep water drilling is being considered by the European Parliament’s environment committee on Tuesday.
Environmentalists are concerned that the committee may block the move and could also weaken measures to reduce emissions from vans in a separate resolution today.
Meanwhile oil giant Chevron, who are operating the Stena Carron, appealed to Greenpeace to end their protest.
“This latest act is extremely dangerous and once again demonstrates that Greenpeace is willing to put its volunteers at risk by entering the path of the Stena Carron while the vessel is in transit,” the company said in a statement.
“We hoped that Greenpeace would continue to respect the interdict granted by the court, which prohibits the activists from returning to the Stena Carron, but this gesture shows no regard for the law and for the safety of all involved.”