|Greenpeace activist scaling the Polar Pioneer. Photo credit: Greenpeace
By Anders Lorenzen
This week, six Greenpeace activists scaled the Shell oil rig Polar Pioneer, currently heading for the Arctic to conduct controversial oil drilling activities.
Inflatable boats from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza took action in the early hours of the 7th of April when the Polar Pioneer was positioned in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 750 miles from Hawaii.
Last week, the United States Department of Interior approved Shell’s drilling lease for the Chukchi Sea in the Alaskan Arctic, paving the way for Shell to finally begin their Arctic oil drilling adventure. Shell remains the only oil major left willing to go to the Arctic in thirst for new oil reserves, all others have dropped their plans in the wake of the low oil price.
The Polar Pioneer will now head to the port of Seattle in the US, which, despite fierce opposition, recently agreed to house Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet. Then, if all goes to plan, Shell will commence Arctic drilling operations in less than 100 days.
One of the Greenpeace activists involved in the Polar Pioneer action, Johno Smith from New Zealand, said: “We’re here to highlight that in less than 100 days Shell is going to the Arctic to drill for oil. This pristine environment needs protecting for future generations and all life that will call it home. But instead, Shell’s actions are exploiting the melting ice to increase a manmade disaster. Climate change is real and already inflicting pain and suffering on my brothers and sisters in the Pacific.’’
Last time Shell attempted Arctic oil drilling, their other rig, the Kulluk, ran aground off the Alaskan coast, exposing them-them to criticism from all corners of the earth, including US President Barack Obama. The next 100 days will tell whether they have got their house in order this time.