Greenpeace boards Cairn Energy oil rig off Greenland

image captionThe activists are hanging off the rig in an Arctic "survival pod"

Three Greenpeace campaigners have scaled an oil rig off the coast of Greenland in a bid to stop a Scottish company drilling.

The 53,000-tonne Leiv Eiriksson rig is run by Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy.

Greenpeace said the trio were hanging from the underside of the rig in an Arctic survival pod with enough supplies to stay there for 10 days.

They hope their action will prevent the start of deep-water drilling 100 miles (160km) west of the Greenland coast.

Cairn Energy said the rig would continue towards the approved drilling location and if necessary ask the police to remove the activists when it reaches its destination.

Greenpeace International oil campaigner Ben Ayliffe is on board the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, within sight of the rig and the survival pod.

He said: "We boarded the rig a few hours before it was due to reach its Arctic drill site and now it can't start operations.

"We are preventing it from drilling because an oil spill up here would be nearly impossible to deal with due to the freezing conditions and remote location.

"A BP-style blow-out off the Greenland coast would make the Deepwater Horizon clean-up look simple."

The climbers said their camp was a few metres from the huge drill-bit.

Earlier this week, the group staged a protest outside the oil company's Edinburgh headquarters.

The demonstration was to protest against the oil firm's plans to begin drilling four new exploratory oil wells near Baffin Bay, Greenland this summer.

Cairn Energy is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company with principal interests in India and Greenland.

Ove Karl Berthelsen, a member of the Greenland government, said: "Naalakkersuisut [the Cabinet] strongly opposes the action by Greenpeace against drilling after oil in Greenland.

"We will not be stopped by Greenpeace actions. Greenland has a right to develop a basis for livelihood for the population here as they do in other countries.

"It must be stressed, that the exploration complies with very high standards for safety and environmental protection."

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