Greenpeace head arrested on Cairn rig

The global head of Greenpeace has been arrested after scaling an oil rig off the coast of Greenland, despite a recently imposed injunction.

Kumi Naidoo, the organisation’s international executive director, was arrested with one other protester on the Leiv Eiriksson drilling platform owned by Scottish company Cairn Energy. Several similar occupations, including one in which 18 activists recently caused drilling to halt for 12 hours, prompted Cairn to request the injunction, which was approved by a Danish court last week.

Mr Naidoo evaded a Danish navy warship to reach the Leiv Eriksson rig by an inflatable speedboat, before climbing a 30-metre ladder on a platform leg. He was carrying a petition with the signatures of 50,000 supporters who want Cairn to publish its oil spill plan.

Speaking just before setting out from Greenpeace’s Esperanza campaign ship, Mr Naidoo said, “The Arctic oil rush is such a serious threat to the climate and to this beautiful fragile environment that I felt Greenpeace had no choice but to return, so I volunteered to do it myself.”

Following Mr Naidoo’s arrest, Greenpeace associate Ben Stewart said that although the Arctic campaign is “far from over”, they would be moving their ship out of the area. “After over a month of non-stop action to stop dangerous deep water drilling in the Arctic, which has seen 22 Greenpeace activists, including Kumi, arrested after braving freezing seas to protest against Cairn’s reckless drilling, it is time to move the campaign up a gear and out of the Arctic. We are now leaving the area and taking the campaign against dangerous Arctic oil drilling to other places, and that’s where we’ll be for the rest of the year,” he said in a BBC report.

In a statement after the most recent occupation, Cairn Energy said: “Wherever it is active, Cairn seeks to operate in a safe and prudent manner. The Greenland Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum has established some of the most stringent operating regulations anywhere globally, which mirror those applied in the Norwegian North Sea.”

(Photo: Anders Peter Amsnæs)