Greenpeace Activists Forced Off Shell Oil Rig

The Greenpeace activists make their way back to the MV Esperanze, April 11, 2015. Photo: Greenpeace
The Greenpeace activists make their way back to the MV Esperanza, April 11, 2015. Photo: Greenpeace

Six Greenpeace activists have been forced off one of Shell’s Arctic-bound oil rigs in the Pacific Ocean due to weather.

The six activists boarded the semi-submersible rig Polar Pioneer on April 6 as it made its way across the Pacific Ocean from Brunei Bay, Malaysia to Seattle atop the heavy lift ship Blue Marlin. The rig is expected to head up to Chukchi Sea in the Alaskan arctic to drill for Shell.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Interior upheld a 2008 lease sale in the Chukchi Sea, giving Shell the approval needed to continue its oil and gas exploration program there this summer.

The Polar Pioneer, owned by Transocean, is one of two drilling rigs heading towards the Arctic for Shell this year. The activists had set up camp on the underside of the Polar Pioneer’s main deck and were getting resupplied by the Greenpeace ship MV Esperanza, which was also used to launch the protest.

A second rig for Shell, the Noble Discoverer drillship, has already departed for Alaska ahead of this summer’s anticipated drilling activities.

Greenpeace identified the six climbers Aliyah Field, 27, from the USA, Johno Smith, 32, from New Zealand, Andreas Widlund, 27, from Sweden, Miriam Friedrich, 23, from Austria, Zoe Buckley Lennox, 21, from Australia and Jens Loewe, 46, from Germany.

The protest was part of Greenpeace’s ‘Save the Arctic’ campaign, which aims to gather 10 million signatures against offshore drilling (and illegal fishing) in the arctic by company’s like Shell, Gazprom, Statoil, and Exxon.

Although the rig protest is over, Greenpeace is planning protests in Seattle upon Polar Pioneer’s arrival there mid-month.