GCAP Ambassador, Kumi Naidoo, the current Executive Director of Greenpeace, was arrested in Greenland after leading a protest against an oil drilling project in the Arctic which according to Greenpeace is a “reckless and dangerous project”. Kumi climbed the rig to a deliver a petition with thousands of signatures from all over the world. He and another activist were later arrested for “trespassing.”
Greenpeace head Kumi Naidoo arrested over oil rig protest
Executive director held by Greenland police for defying court injunction forbidding group from coming near the rig
In dramatic scenes 120km off the west coast of Greenland, a Greenpeace flatable speedboat evaded a Danish navy warship, allowing Kumi Naidoo and two activists to clamber aboard one of the massive legs of the Leiv Eiriksson, a 52,000-tonne rig. According to Greenpeace, the crew of the rig tried to prevent them from boarding with water cannons.
The three activists are said to be 30m above sea level on a small platform. The Danish navy has launched a helicopter which arrived at the rig within the last few minutes. In addition to the likelihood of prison, Greenpeace faces a fine of $50,000 a day after Scottish oil company Cairn Energy obtained an injunction which forbade the organisation from going within 500m of the rig. Cairn sought the injunction in Holland after 20 Greenpeace activists were arrested on the rig in the last month for stopping the rig from operating.
Before scaling the rig, Naidoo said he was calling on the rig’s owner to halt rilling, and would request a copy of the rig’s oil spill response plan. The document, which has not been made public, has been at the centre of a month-long campaign of direct action in the Arctic.
Naidoo said:”For me this is one of the defining environmental battles of our age, it’s a fight for sanity against the madness of a mindset that sees the melting of the Arctic sea ice as a good thing. As the ice retreats the oil companies want to send the rigs in and drill for the fossil fuels that got us into this mess in the first place. We have to stop them. It goes right to the heart of the kind of world we want and the one which we want to pass onto our children.”
Naidoo, 45, was a youth leader in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, where he was arrested several times and charged with violating provisions against mass mobilisation, civil disobedience and for violating the state of emergency. He lived underground before being forced to flee South Africa and live in exile in the UK.
When appointed executive director of Greenpeace International in 2009, he said: “History teaches us that real change only comes when good men and women are prepared to put their lives and personal safety on the line to advance the cause of justice, equity and peace.”
The Norwegian foreign minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, recently entered the debate about exploration for oil in the Arctic, telling the Guardian: “There is no reason why the world can tell Greenland there is oil and gas everywhere in the world that can be explored but that Greenland cannot.”
He added: “This is a matter for Denmark and Greenland and I take it they have solid standards for [drilling] operations.”
Asked about the direct actions taken by Greenpeace against Cairn Energy‘s activities off Greenland, he said he did not “want to venture into a criminal case”.
Norway, the second biggest gas exporter and seventh biggest oil exporter in the world, has allowed the drilling of 80 wells in the Arctic, in the Barents sea. Støre said the proposed drilling of Greenland was at the same latitude as the main Norwegian oil and gas fields, in operation for decades, and was far further south than the Barents Sea.
In a recent round of awards of oil and gas exploration blocks off Norway, half were awarded against the advice of Norway’s Institute of Marine Research, which was concerned about the impact on cold water coral reefs and fish spawning areas. Ole Anders Lindseth, director general of Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, said other bodies had supported the awards. “Is it the majority that says yes that you listen to, or the minority that says no?” he asked.
Times Topics: Arctic Regions – Breaking World Arctic Regions A Father’s day letter for Kumi in jail … Greenpeace Executive Director Kumi Naidoo Arrested Taking Action Against Arctic Oil Drilling …