Six Greenpeace International activists have today disembarked a Shell oil platform at the port of Haugesund, southwest Norway, after a 13-day occupation and nearly 4,000km, with police making no arrests.
In a final stand at 10.30am (CET), protestors climbed the platform’s 125m flare boom, and waved a banner saying ‘Stop drilling. Start Paying.’ Meanwhile five fellow activists led by Greenpeace Southeast Asia executive director, Yeb Saño, on board Greenpeace Nordic’s 8-meter Tanker Tracker boat sailed out to confront the 51-000-tonne White Marlin vessel contracted by Shell as it approached the port.
At midday the platform was brought in to dock, and protestors were able to descend the boom and disembark at 2.30pm, having traveled nearly 4,000km from where they first boarded, north of the Canary Islands. It is Greenpeace’s longest ever occupation of a moving oil platform.
The protestors have been calling on Shell to take responsibility for its role in causing the climate crisis, and to pay into loss and damage funds, to help countries recover from extreme weather caused by climate change. Two days into their protest, Shell posted record annual profits of nearly $40billion.
Speaking from the Tanker Tracker sailboat Mr Saño, said:
“Shell might think this is the end of our protest, but my message to chief executive Wael Sawan is that this is just the beginning.
“Negotiations around climate loss and damage have so far stalled when it comes to the fundamental question of: who will pay?
“Thanks to my brave fellow activists we are seeing people connecting the dots between fossil fuel mega profits and the bill for climate loss and damage.
“Not only can the likes of Shell afford to pay; it is right that they must pay for devastation that they are directly causing. Shell, and the wider fossil fuel industry, must stop drilling, and start paying. One way or another we will make polluters pay.”
On Tuesday January 31, Carlos Marcelo Bariggi Amara, from Argentina; Yakup Çetinkaya, from Turkey; Imogen Michel from the UK and Usnea Granger from the US, successfully boarded Shell’s 34,000 tonne oil platform, as it was being transported to the North Sea.
The platform is a floating production storage and offloading [FPSO] unit destined for a major redevelopment project as Shell seeks to squeeze every last drop of oil from the Penguins field.
Burning all of the oil and gas from the field redevelopment would create 45m tonnes of CO2 – more than the entire annual emissions of Norway.
The production platform is the first new manned vessel for Shell in the northern North Sea for 30 years. At peak production the project is expected to yield the equivalent of 45,000 barrels of oil per day, and Shell has suggested it could open up further areas for exploration.
After posting obscene profits, which were met with public outcry, Shell attempted to shut down the peaceful protest by securing an injunction on Friday, February 3; threatening fines and up to two years in prison.
But despite these court orders, Greenpeace International was able to sustain the occupation and add two more climbers – Pascal Havez from France, and Silja Zimmermann from Germany- to join the original four.
On Friday, February 10, Greenpeace UK, Greenpeace International and the individual activists were then hit with a legal claim for more than $120,000, over alleged damage caused by activists. They were accused of having ‘unlawfully’ erected solar panels and a wind turbine on Shell’s oil platform, and of “intimidation” for calling on Shell to stop drilling and start paying for climate loss and damage.
They claim demanded that the campaign group – which is funded by donations – pay for increased security costs associated with the protest, and for other damage that might have occurred. With no assessment having yet taken place; the claim failed to explain exactly what the sum of over $120,000 is for, or what damage is alleged.
Today, Greenpeace Nordic sent a third boat to confront Shell’s oil platform as it was brought into port in Norway. Mr Saño was accompanied by Greenpeace activists Martin Taminiau, from the Netherlands; Halvard Raavand, from Norway; Daniel Zetterström, from Sweden and Ronnie Christiansen from Denmark, holding a banner stating: Stop Drilling. Start Paying.
As the oil platform was brought into port, the six activists involved in the occupation were able to peacefully disembark, with Norwegian police making no arrests.
The fortnight of protests has seen activists come together from Argentina, Cameroon, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Norway, the Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the US to call for climate justice.
Sources: THX News & Greenpeace.