Greenpeace Boards Arctic Oil Platform in Protest
Early this morning (Aug. 24th 2012) Greenpeace activists set on a mission to board an arctic oil platform owned by Russian oil giant Gazprom. The oil platform, named ‘Prirazlomnaya’, was targeted by the activists in an attempt to get the Russian Oil Multinational to abandon its plans for Arctic Oil Drilling.
Kumi Naidoo, the executive director for Greenpeace International, joined the efforts to “Occupy” this arctic drilling boondoggle. In preparation for boarding the oil platform, Kumi Naidoo has been reporting their progress via twitter at every step of the way:
According to an early morning press release sent out by Greenpeace, details of the operations are as follows:
- There are six climbers on the platform that have stopped it’s activities temporarily.
- The climbers are secured to the platform and have enough food for several days.
- Helicopters are at the scene in an attempt to arrest the “Occupiers”
- The activists are supported by over 1 million supporters worldwide who view the Arctic as sacred grounds.
Scientists have recently predicted that the Arctic sea ice levels will set new records this Septemeber for lowest amount of ice ever recorded. This little tidbit, fuels the irony that oil companies are desperate for arctic oil while exploiting melting ice that is caused by their oil operations.
Greenpeace has been on top of this issue from day 1 as they have performed similar ‘Occupy’ protests on an Arctic Icebreaker Ship. They’ve also hosted conferences in Russia and included indigenous people to the table. The hearings they’ve held has lead to a joint statement from over 30 representatives all expressing opposition to arctic oil drilling. Their sobering statement can be viewed here.
Speaking with environmental passion and conviction, Kumi is quoted:
“We climbed Gazprom’s rusting oil platform backed by over a million people who have joined a new movement to protect the Arctic. We are here on their behalf. We are also standing shoulder to shoulder with the Russian Indigenous Peoples, who just last week signed a joint statement opposing offshore oil drilling in this area, which is near their traditional territory.”
The Russian oil company (Gazprom) is planning a full scale operation of Arctic Drilling some time next year, making it the first oil company to begin production of oil in the offshore Arctic region. Greenpeace has researched and found that Gazprom is currently operating with an expired oil spill response plan as of July, 2012. Their last plan was approved in July 2007 which lasted 5 years. Greenpeace has confirmed with the Russian government that a new spill plan has yet to be presented or authorized.
We all know by now that the Arctic region is an extremely delicate region and an extremely harsh region. Any oil related accidents that would happen in this region would be extremely hard to deal with…if not impossible. Even though Gazprom is aware of the hostile conditions of the Arctic, they have released an oil spill response plan in a summary document that includes relying on buckets and shovels that would hardly actually help clean up a real oil spill in extreme icy conditions.
Regardless of what you think of Greenpeaces’s actions, this organization is making their position known to protect what they believe in. What do you believe? Should the Arctic be off-limits to oil companies? Let us know in comments below.
Activists were constantly being hosed with water by Gazprom workers who knew that the freezing temperatures would endanger the safety of the peaceful activists who boarded the platform. 15 hours of enduring those extreme conditions, the occupiers voluntarily came down but said in a statement:
“The bravery of all of these climbers interrupted a major Arctic oil operation, and by doing so brought the world’s attention to this era defining issue. This occupation was just one part of a new movement to save the Arctic that will not be intimidated by water cannons or other forms of corporate brutality.”
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