Activists stop Russian tanker carrying thousands of tonnes of diesel

Oil and gas fuels war. And the war in Ukraine is no exception. The government promised to block Russian-owned ships coming into the UK, but Putin’s oil and gas is still getting through. So we showed them how it’s done.


Greenpeace activists have stopped a tanker carrying 33,000 tonnes of Russian diesel from docking in Essex. This cargo is worth millions of pounds, which would go straight back to Putin to fund his invasion of Ukraine. Dodging security, 12 Greenpeace volunteers got onto the Navigator Terminals jetty on the River Thames late on Sunday night. Then they set themselves up to prevent the Andromeda tanker from docking and unloading its cargo.

In March, Boris Johnson urged Europe to stop buying Russian fossil fuels and called for all UK ports to block Russian-flagged ships from docking. But Russian fossil fuels are still making their way here – so we took action.

An activist in climbing gear sits halfway up a crane at a commercial ship dock. Police officers and port staff stand below, looking bemused.

© Fionn Guilfoyle / Greenpeace

Activists occupied the jetty where the tanker was due to arrive, preventing it from docking. They unfurled banners reading “OIL FUELS WAR”. With nowhere to go, the tanker turned around in the Thames and anchored off the coast near Margate.

The activists have now all been remove and arrested, but thanks to them, this ship full of Putin’s oil won’t be docking today.

Greenpeace’s Russian Tanker Tracker makes it possible to see when tanker shipments of fossil fuels are leaving Russia, and when they’re set to arrive in ports in the UK and around the world. Greenpeace activists have been using the tracker to protest shipments of Russian fossil fuels in the USDenmarkSwedenPolandBelgiumSpain and the Baltic Sea.

Relying on oil and gas funds war and leaves us exposed

You may have seen the horrors of war through the media these past few months. But the fossil fuel industry has long been funding war whether we know it or not. And the war in Ukraine is no different.

Oil and gas accounts for 40% of Russia’s federal budget and makes up 60% of their exports. In October 2021,Russia made more than $500million a day from fossil fuels.

To put it simply: every time we buy Russian oil or gas, money from our pockets is going to Putin to fund this war. Yet, we can help stop war by cutting demand for fossil fuels – see what Stand with Ukraine groups say.

Even before this war in Ukraine, we were facing an energy price crisis in the UK. Millions of people face falling into poverty as they struggle to pay higher energy bills and increased living costs. Now, household bills could become £3000 higher by October 2022. Which could leave nearly 8.5million households in fuel poverty – 2.5million more than before the war began.

Last year, we might have experienced our energy company going out of business or seen offshore workers facing months of unemployment thanks to the government’s failure to act. But now we’re all seeing how closely connected oil and gas is with paying for illegal wars. And how vulnerable we are when we rely heavily on fossil fuel energy.

Activist sits on a dock holding an oil fuels war banner

© Fionn Guilfoyle / Greenpeace

Getting off oil and gas – for now and for good

This is our moment. To tackle rising energy bills, the climate crisis and stop funding war, our only long-term solution is to get off fossil fuels. To do this as fast as possible, we need to transition to renewable energy and make our homes energy efficient.

Investing in wind and solar power on land and energy efficiency is the safest, least volatile and quickest solution. We don’t need more North Sea fossil fuel projects that will take decades to deliver. These won’t tackle rising bills and will worsen the climate crisis. Instead, if we fund renewable energy and make our homes greener, we can cut our need for Russian gas this year and save money on our bills.

The government can act now. They can set out an energy plan that protects and creates jobs, meets the UK’s energy needs in an environmentally-friendly way, gives us stability in the face of future shocks, and means that we aren’t funding wars across the world.

Let’s move towards a renewable energy system that’s fairer for people and the planet.

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