Highlands & Islands

Greenpeace vows to stop rig reaching oil field

Greenpeace protest on rig Image copyright Greenpeace
Image caption Protesters were removed from the rig by police using helicopters and boats

Greenpeace activists have vowed to continue attempts to prevent an oil rig from reaching the North Sea.

The Transocean rig was towed out of the Cromarty Firth on Friday night after a six-day occupation by protesters was ended by the police.

The rig is heading to the Vorlich oil field east of Aberdeen.

But Greenpeace said its Arctic Sunrise ship is now sailing towards the 27,000 tonne rig "to play her part in thwarting BP's plans".

BP, which has contracted the Transocean-operated rig, served Greenpeace with a court order to prevent Arctic Sunrise from joining the protest in the Cromarty Firth, north of Inverness.

A spokesperson said: "Given Greenpeace's repeated interference and reckless actions directed at our lawful business and their continued illegal defiance for court orders and police action, we have issued the injunction as a precautionary measure to protect the safety of people and operations."

Image caption Greenpeace was served with an interdict to prevent its ship the Arctic Sunrise from joining the protest in the Cromarty Firth but the vessel is now heading towards the North Sea

But Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: "For nearly a week, our brave activists strained every sinew to stop this BP rig from drilling new oil wells and fuelling the climate emergency.

"And it's not over, our ship the Arctic Sunrise is sailing towards Scotland ready to play her part in thwarting BP's plans.

"They say we're reckless and irresponsible. We say there's nothing as reckless and irresponsible as pushing the world closer to a climate catastrophe.

"For as long as BP remains determined to look for more oil, there will be people determined to stop them."

Image caption The rig was due to be towed from the Cromarty Firth on Sunday night but left about midnight on Friday according to Greenpeace

A total of 14 people were arrested in connection with the occupation of the oil rig between 9 June and Friday, including a man and a woman who had re-occupied the structure after the original protesters had been removed.

A BP spokesman previously said: "BP supports debate, discussion and peaceful demonstration, but the irresponsible actions of this group are putting themselves and others unnecessarily at risk, while ignoring court orders and police action.

"We share the protesters' concerns about climate change, we support the Paris Agreement and are committed to playing our part to advance the energy transition.

"However, progress to a lower-carbon future will depend on coming together, understanding each other's perspectives and working to find solutions, not dangerous PR stunts that exacerbate divisions and create risks to both life and property."

Image copyright Greenpeace/PA Wire
Image caption The rig was being towed out to sea in the Cromarty Firth when it was boarded

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