Environmental activist group Greenpeace is no stranger to controversy. The organization is sometimes admired and other times criticized for their bold—some would say aggressive or even confrontational—approach to sharing their message and advancing their agendas. Either way, what no one can deny is the organization’s zeal, and the willingness of their people to put themselves at risk for their goals.
Kemplon Engineering takes a closer look at their most recent news-making stunt, where six Greenpeace activists board a Shell oil rig headed for drilling in the Arctic.
The 38,000-ton Polar Pioneer is a rig contracted to Shell, and carried by the ship Blue Marlin. Six Greenpeace activists, from Austria, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States, boarded the vessel in protest of Arctic drilling. The organization has announced the boarding did not interfere with the vessel’s navigation or operations.
Following the “illegal boarding,” Royal Dutch Shell filed a lawsuit to get a temporary restraining order and injunction against Greenpeace, to keep the organization from interfering with their Arctic assets. The company believes Greenpeace’s activities might be unsafe, and could cause monetary damages if delays result from the organization’s actions and prevent the company from operating in the ice-free season. Greenpeace, however has insisted the United States have no jurisdiction where the rig is in international waters.
Ultimately though, it is bad weather conditions which forces the activists to pack up and leave the rig after camping out on Polar Pioneer for six days.
In this day and age, the Arctic presents many opportunities and challenges to the maritime industry. In many ways this is “virgin” territory, recently becoming more accessible to us because of changes in the climate. The waterways, however, are still complex and the weather harsh. Support systems and governing laws are also not yet solidly in place. These are all compounded by valid environmental concerns, as the region is a vital piece in our interconnected planet.
Opposition and concerns relating to Arctic drilling comes from several fronts, not just from Greenpeace. Though some may question the methods of this particular organization, everyone’s environmental worries do deserve consideration. We at Kemplon Engineering sincerely hope the proper authorities can come to decisions that serve both commercial and productive interests, as well as “green” initiatives that preserve the vital resources of our precious planet.
^ Greenpeace. “Greenpeace climbers leave Arctic oil drilling rig.” (Press Release) Greenpeace.org, 11 Apr 2015. Web. 19 Apr 2015. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/Greenpeace-climbers-leave-Arctic-oil-drilling-rig-/
^ “Greenpeace activists leave Arctic-bound oil rig.” Business Insider, 12 Apr 2015. Web. 19 Apr 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-greenpeace-activists-leave-arctic-bound-oil-rig-2015-4
^ Johnson, Gene. “In rough seas, Greenpeace gets off Arctic drill rig.” The Seattle Times, 11 Apr 2015. Web. 19 Apr 2015. http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/in-rough-seas-activists-leave-royal-dutch-shell-rig/
^ Lakshmi, Aiswarya. “Rough Seas Sends Greenpeace Home.” MarineLink.com, 13 Apr 2015. Web. 19 Apr 2015. http://www.marinelink.com/news/greenpeace-sends-rough389233.aspx
^ Laursen, Wendy. “Bad Weather Sends Greenpeace Home.” The Maritime Executive, 12 Apr 2015. Web. 19 Apr 2015. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/bad-weather-sends-greenpeace-home
^ “Shell Files Complaint about Greenpeace Activists.” The Maritime Executive, 07 Apr 2015. Web. 19 Apr 2015. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/shell-files-complaint-about-greenpeace-activists