New Zealand: Greenpeace Activists Arrested

Activists Board Shell Contracted Drillship.

Seven Greenpeace protesters lead by TV star Lucy Lawless, who on Thursday Boarded the Noble Discoverer drillship, have been arrested and charged with burglary, according to The New Zealand Herald.

The activists boarded the ship to protest against Shell’s plans to drill for oil in Alaskan waters and to prevent the ship from departing the Port Taranaki.

Commenting on the burglary charge, Bunny McDiarmid, the Executive director of Greenpeace New Zealand, says: “Of course we didn’t actually steal anything, we never do.  Though maybe we did… When I think about the actions of these seven and the 133,000 people globally who joined them, we have gone a long way towards stealing back the future of the Arctic from the desperate clutches of Shell and the oil giants.”

In the statement, McDiarmid refers to 133,000 people that sent e-mails to Shell requesting the company to scrap the Arctic drilling plans.

Rob Jager, Chairman of Shell New Zealand was pleased that the protest on board the drillship came to an end: “Shell is pleased the Greenpeace protesters’ unlawful trespass on the Noble Discoverer is ending safely. We have every confidence in the police professionalism and in their capabilities to deal safely and effectively with the situation.  From the outset our primary concern has been for the safety of all concerned. Routine work has continued on the Noble Discover to the extent it can be done without jeopardising that safety. We provided Greenpeace with a reasonable opportunity engage in productive conversation and are disappointed they have not responded. We will continue to extend the offer.”

Worse than the Deepwater Horizon

Greenpeace has questioned Shell’s Arctic drilling plans, claiming that the Arctic oil spill would be impossible to contain and clean up and would cause a disaster greater than the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon did.

Lucy Lawless also said :”It’s not the question of if there will be an oil spill in the Arctic. It’s the question of when.”

Shell’s Rob Jager has dismissed this: “Shell has taken unprecedented steps to pursue safe, environmentally responsible exploration in shallow water off the coast of Alaska. We recognize that industry’s license to operate in the offshore is predicated on being able to operate in a safe, environmentally sound manner. Shell’s commitment to those basic principles is unwavering. Shell’s Alaska Exploration Plans and Oil Spill Response Plans are guided by our extensive Arctic expertise, solid scientific understanding of the environment and world-class capabilities.”

The New Zealand Herald further reports that the seven arrested activists are due to appear in New Plymouth District Court on Thursday.

Offshore Energy Today Staff, February 27, 2012; Image: Greenpeace