Arctic Stand-off : Two Greenpeace ships confront world’s most controversial oil rig

Posted by NickYoungGP — 24 May 2011 at 12:28pm - Comments
Greenpeace intercepts Cairn Energy's Arctic oil rig
All rights reserved. Credit: © Steve Morgan / Greenpeace
Greenpeace intercepts Cairn Energy's Arctic oil rig

Despite it being the size of a small cathedral, locating Cairn Energy’s oil rig Leiv Eiriksson amongst the icebergs in the North Atlantic is like finding a needle in a haystack.

But, after a week long search for the giant 53,000 tonne rig we found it last night 200 miles west of Greenland under the escort of a Danish warship!

I’m writing this from aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise. Along with a second Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, we are now in a rather tense stand-off with Danish navy commandos protecting the oil drilling operation.

Confidential UK government documents acquired by Greenpeace and released today reveal that the British foreign office believes any oil spill in Arctic waters would be impossible to deal with.

The rig’s destination, in a place known locally as iceberg alley in the freezing seas between Canada and Greenland, is a dangerous minefield of travelling icebergs – just one of the many reasons that drilling for oil here is a risky business.

The company is planning to drill at depths of 1500m – as deep as the BP well that blew up in the Gulf of Mexico last year - but in far more challenging conditions. Freezing temperatures, severe weather and a highly remote location mean any spill could be very difficult – if not impossible - to contain and clean up.

Cairn Energy is the only company aiming to drill in the region this year, but the big boys are watching with interest. If Cairn strikes oil it will spark an oil rush that could devastate the fragile Arctic environment.

We should not be pushing to the ends of the earth, risking everything to get at the last drop of oil – instead we should be seeking clean energy alternative and better fuel efficiency to break free of our addiction to oil.

Good luck to the brave crews of Esperanza and Arctic Sunrise! Millions of us supporters are behind you in spirit. Keep up the vital work to protect the Arctic.

Heres hoping you can halt their frantic search for oil enough this year again. Dig out the harnesses again if need be ;)

Completely irresponsible practices by Cairn energy, makes me a little ashamed that they are based in my country; They do NOT represent the values that Scotland has towards the environment.

Thank-you people, you are all very brave!! 

 

I feel so fortunate to be a part of this campaign. My fellow crew
members from around the world are sterling. I just hope that there can
be enough public action and diplomatic persuasion that this crazy course of action
can be halted.

Thank you to the brave folks on the ships for representing so many of us.

Imagine being a tough guy danish navy commando receiving money from the Government to protect an oil rig that is effectively destroying the future of their own children and grandchildren. If you're really a tough guy it's their future you should be fighting for and let's face it fellas - that is something you as individuals already know. There is no question that it's those on the Greenpeace boats who are showing the real bravery out there in the Arctic.

I think the bravery mentioned here is being confused with a few ignorant people who are looking to tell a "cool" story and appear like heroes to others.  Good luck staying alive.  Hopefully the rig won't have to save you this time and feed you, give you a nice shower and treat you with kindness.  Keep fighting the good fight though.  You really are making a difference.

wise up u fucking morons and get a life go and get a real jo u sad people that have nothing better to do what does ur boats run on eh r u thick or what no matter what u do we will b drilling there hope the gunship blows u out the water u nutters hahahahahahaha

Typical of industrialized rich countries to impose how other nations should govern their own natural ressources. Go home and clean up your own shit Greenpeace people. You're an embarrasment "Lovely" Greenpeace "saving" the Arctic which their own nations have polluted and exploited for the last 2->3 centuries.

Despite the abusive comments from folk working on the rig, and presumably someone from Greenland, I reckon Greenpeace is doing the right thing here confronting the insanity of frontier oil, and the reckless pursuit of profit at the expense of the climate, the ecosystem, and the future of our civilisation.

If you do work for the oil industry, then perhaps take a moment to reflect on the world you're leaving to your children and your grandchildren. Continuing to pump greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere leads to the destabilisation of the climate, threats to every coastal city, natual habitat, our economy, food production and ultimately the nature and shape of our civilization.

If you live closer to home, then yes striking oil in Arctic waters will lead to an oil boom in Greenland, up until the point where something goes wrong. And if you really think that the profits of that oil boom are going to end up in the hands of ordinary people that perhaps looks at every other oil producing area (from the UK to Saudi Arabia)- the money will end up in the hands of big corporations and the elite.

So consider is this really worth the risk? the risk to the local ecosystem, in the event of a serious accident (and accidents will always happen), without a plan to clean up the mess. And is this desperate grab for uncoventional oil, and short term profit, worth the increasing certaintity of catastrophic climate change.

You guys are absoulte tree huggers!!.....you worry about the enviroment but yet you use gas guzzling boats to help save the enviroment seems rather contradicitarty to me.....you guys need to find something better to do with your time.......pretty soon the oil companies arent going to take your actions so lightly or the world for that matter!!!......you have but all destryoed the sealing and whaling industry in Greenland! Leave them alone they are trying to sustain a viable indsutry to claim its own indapendence! Its their country and their waters so F*** Off!!!! If your not a Greenlander then you have no businiess in what goes on in their waters! I would like to see you show up to NL Canada with a Greenpeace shirt on and walk the city streets, it wouldnt be a pleasent trip I can bet on that!! Stop eating gronola and buck the hell up and F*Ck off find better things to due with your worthless selves!

You guys are absoulte tree huggers!!.....you worry about the enviroment but yet you use gas guzzling boats to help save the enviroment seems rather contradicitarty to me.....you guys need to find something better to do with your time.......pretty soon the oil companies arent going to take your actions so lightly or the world for that matter!!!......you have but all destryoed the sealing and whaling industry in Greenland! Leave them alone they are trying to sustain a viable indsutry to claim its own indapendence! Its their country and their waters so F*** Off!!!! If your not a Greenlander then you have no businiess in what goes on in their waters! I would like to see you show up to NL Canada with a Greenpeace shirt on and walk the city streets, it wouldnt be a pleasent trip I can bet on that!! Stop eating gronola and buck the hell up and F*Ck off find better things to due with your worthless selves!

I've just emailed Cairn Energy and told them that I am concerned about their Arctic operations and that I intend on buying shares and telling them directly at their AGM. Also just noticed that HSBC Global Asset Management own a huge chunk of the share capital. Hows about everyone who is a customer of HSBC or one of their companies, firstdirect etc, ringing, writing emailing their concerns.  Or just making sure that if people are concerned about Cairns operations that they now who is backing the operations. check out http://www.cairnenergy.com/investors/major-shareholders/ for the list. Best of luck with this one people. 

KEEP THE GOOD WORK UP - for us all

Keep up vital work you are doing, supporting you from the luxury of dry land. Did you know that Cairn energy is listed on Ethical Funds! I hope that you can stop their insanity soon.

 

The greenpeace ships may be out of sight,BUT THE BEAR IS NOT, GO_ALL AT GREENPEACE!

The greenpeace ships may be out of sight,BUT THE BEAR IS NOT, GO_ALL AT GREENPEACE!

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