A team of international volunteers from the environmental group Greenpeace used inflatable speedboats to intercept an oil rig destined to begin drilling in the Arctic, the first of its kind, shortly after it left Besiktas port near Istanbul this morning.
The activists boarded the vessel to stop it moving, and have pledged a sustained occupation, carrying enough supplies with them to last for days. Amongst those on board is a team of highly-skilled climbers who have scaled the rig’s derrick and unfurled a huge banner, which reads, “Stop Arctic destruction.”
Greenpeace campaigner Ben Ayliffe, speaking from Turkey, said: “This is the most controversial oil rig in the world because it’s the only one destined to begin risky new offshore drilling in the very deep waters of the Arctic this year. We’ve stopped it here because it’s on its way to Greenland over the next few weeks, blazing a trail for other major oil companies and sparking the start of a dangerous new Arctic oil rush.
“As climate change sees the Arctic sea ice retreating, the high north is becoming the frontline of the global environmental battleground. The oil industry wants to start dangerous deep sea drilling in one of the world’s most fragile and pristine environments, despite the terrible risks of a spill there.”