18 activists removed from Cairn rig

Cairn Energy has announced that drilling has begun again at its oil exploration rig in the Arctic, after 18 Greenpeace activists breached a restricted area and suspended operations for 12 hours.

The activists climbed aboard the Leiv Eirksson rig off the coast of Greenland, calling for details of how the Edinburgh-based company would respond to an oil spill.

The action, which is just the latest attempt by the environmental group to disrupt oil exploration in the Arctic region, started when five Greenpeace speedboats breached a 500-metre exclusion zone. Protesters, who hung themselves from the 53,000-tonne drilling station in survival pods, were eventually removed by Danish police.

A statement from Cairn Energy said: “The incident aboard the Leiv Eiriksson has ended peacefully. All 18 protesters are being dealt with by the Greenland authorities.”

Campaigner Ben Ayliffe explained the reasons behind the protest to the BBC: “Experts say the freezing temperatures and remote location mean a deep water blow-out in this stunning pristine environment would be an irreversible disaster. If they published the plan, the dangers of investing in such a high risk venture would be laid bare. We have to draw a line in the ice and stop the Arctic oil rush,” he said.

Last week, Cairn announced that it has begun drilling at two wells off the coast of the Greenlandic capital, Nuuk.

(Photo: Anders Peter Amsnæs)

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