Greenpeace has announced that it has been blocked by a Danish warship in its efforts to sail a protest boat to an oil drilling platform off the coast of Greenland. The environmental group’s ship, Esperanza, was apparently halted outside a 500-metre exclusion zone around the Cairn Energy rig, 200km from Aasiaat, on Greenland’s west coast. In an email statement issued on Monday, Greenpeace said Denmark, which holds sovereignty over Greenland, had sent a ship to confront their vessel.
The protest boat arrived in Arctic waters after it was announced last week that Edinburgh-based Cairn is increasing its investment in the country. According to US Geological Survey estimates, the sea beds surrounding Greenland could hold 50 billion barrels of crude oil and gas – enough to meet the total current energy needs of Europe for a whole two years.
“Companies like Cairn need to leave the Arctic alone and instead work quickly to develop safe and clean alternatives that will actually help us get off fossil fuels for good,” Esperanza activist Leila Deen said in the release.
The Danish authorities have threatened to board the Greenpeace ship and arrest the captain if it enters the exclusion zone. According to Bloomberg, neither Cairn Energy nor Greenland’s petroleum industry were available for comment on the development.