This photo shows the six Greenpeace activists - from the USA, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden and Austria - holding a banner that reads “The people vs. Shell”, as they entered the polar Pioneer drill rig in the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: Vincenzo Floramo/Greenpeace)
This photo shows the six Greenpeace activists - from the USA, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden and Austria - holding a banner that reads “The people vs. Shell”, as they entered the polar Pioneer drill rig in the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: Vincenzo Floramo/Greenpeace)

Greenpeace Activists Have Boarded Oil Rig Heading for the Arctic

– The Arctic is where we draw the line, says one of the six Greenpeace climbers that have boarded the Polar Pioneer drilling rig, which Shell intends to use to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea.

Monday the climbers arrived in inflatable boats launched from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza. The Arctic-bound Shell oil rig is currently located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 750 miles north-west of Hawaii.

The rig is being transported on a long heavy-lift vessel, and is one of two drilling vessels heading towards the Arctic for Shell this year.


Heading for the Alaskan Arctic

The multi-national team of volunteers are planning to set up a camp under the rig’s main deck. According to a press release the activists have supplies to last for several days, and they are also equipped with technology which will allow them to communicate with supporters in real-time.

Last week the United States Departement of Interior approved Shell’s drilling lease for the Chukchi Sea in the Alaskan Arctic. According to Greenpeace this means that Shell could begin drilling in the area in about 100 days.

The activists are hoping to unfurl a banner containing the names of millions of people from around the world who are opposed to Arctic oil drilling. Currently the campaign, named “The Crossing”, are supported by over 6 million people online.


– Exploiting the melting ice

– We’re here to highlight that in less than 100 days Shell is going to the Arctic to drill for oil. This pristine environment needs protecting for future generations and all life that will call it home. But instead Shell’s actions are exploiting the melting ice to increase a manmade disaster. Climate change is real and already inflicting pain and suffering on my brothers and sisters in the Pacific, Johno Smith from New Zealand, one of the six climbers, says.

The second drilling vessel heading towards the Arctic for Shell this year, is the Noble Discoverer. Both of the drilling vessels are crossing the Pacific and are expected to arrive in Seattle around the middle of April before heading to the Chukchi Sea.

The 35 person crew on board the Esperanza have tailed the Polar Pioneer for more than 5000 nautical miles, since it left Brunei Bay in Malaysia.

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