Greenpeace stops deep water drilling in Arctic

1 June 2011

The Australian captain of the Greenpeace ship Esperanza - Madeleine Habib - sent us this blog from the freezing waters of the Arctic where activists are taking action right now, preventing deep water drilling from the world's most controversial oil rig - the 53,000 tonne Leiv Eiriksson - operated by the Cairn Energy. We've got activists hanging from the underside with enough food and water to keep them going for ten days.

I’m Madeleine, captain of Esperanza on the Arctic oil campaign in the Greenland waters of Davis Straits.

As the global climate changes the Arctic is warming faster than any other region on earth. The result is, areas that were formerly icebound are now open to exploitation.

Esperanza left England early in May intending to stop the drill rig, Liev Eriksson, before it arrived to drill exploratory wells in Arctic waters.

Liev Eriksson is a monstrous rig chartered by the Scottish company, Cairn Energy, to open the fragile frontier of Arctic Oil extraction.

Liev Eriksson only has a short weather window when the conditions are viable for drilling. We are here to ensure that this drilling does not take place.

We are now at 64 degrees north where it doesn’t get fully dark at this time of year. Even so, this morning our decks were covered with drifting snow & the daytime temperature is usually around zero.

We encountered Liev Eriksson South of Greenland & followed the rig until we had the opportunity to take action. It was like following a great lumbering giant as Liev Eriksson pushed her way through rough iceberg-strewn waters off the tip of Cape Farewell.

We tailed the rig up the West coast of Greenland. It was incongruous to see the spectacular snowy mountain wilderness with this agent of destruction in the foreground. On one calm morning we watched mirage-like inversions of images where mountains & icebergs morphed in Dali-esque forms lit by lurid early light.
This phenomenon is known as an Arctic mirage or “Fata Morgana”. The term Fata Morgan comes from King Arthur’s enchanted sister Morgana, who dwelled in a crystal castle beneath the sea. In addition the ash from the Icelandic volcanic eruption has lent an eerie glow to the sky at times. This is a wondrous part of our planet.

For those of you who have been following reports of our action you will know that we have now attached a “survival pod” to the Lief Eriksson in the firm belief that Cairn Energy will not commence drilling while we have two activists suspended from the rig. To do so would be in direct contradiction of their safety policy.

Greenpeace is calling for the end to the madness of Arctic destruction. In this remote & harsh environment there is no way that the oil industry could respond to a spill on the scale of the Gulf of Mexico disaster. We demand to see Cairn Energy’s oil spill response plan.

But most of all we hope that the world will see the folly of more fossil fuel extraction. I hope that this investment can be turned to positive solutions & sustainable energy.

More soon,

You can follow the action and get the updates here