Undeterred by a court order threatening heavy fines or even two years behind bars, a pair of Greenpeace activists on Monday joined four other protesters aboard a shipcarrying a Shell oil platform into the North Sea in order to demand the company stop expanding fossil fuel production around the world.
On Monday morning, the Greenpeace France-chartered trimaran Merida and two small boats approached the White Marlin heavy-lift vessel, which is transporting Shell's 34,000-ton floating production storage and offloading vessel to the Penguins oil field near the Shetland Islands off northeast of Scotland. According to Energy Voice, it's Shell's first new manned installation in the U.K. North Sea in 30 years.
Monday's action follows the delivery Friday of an injunction stipulating that the four activists who climbed aboard the Shell platform last week must seek an agreement with the White Marlin's captain to safely disembark, and that the two Greenpeace boats—the U.K.-flagged Sea Beaver and Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise—must stay at least 500 feet away from the White Marlin.
"We will not let Shell silence us," Greenpeace climber Silja Zimmerman, Greenpeace—who boarded the White Marlin with Pascal Havez—vowed Monday in a statement. "The world needs to hear about Shell's ongoing plans to further heat up the planet, increasing climate devastation without paying a cent towards rebuilding the carnage we're seeing. And we have bad news for Shell: People everywhere are rising up in resistance because we no longer accept reliance on fossil fuel companies that are making our lives worse."
According to Greenpeace:
The platform which six activists are now occupying is a key piece of oil and gas production equipment that will enable Shell to unlock eight new wells in the Penguins field in the North Sea. Burning all of the oil and gas from the field redevelopment would create 45 million tons of CO2—more than the entire annual emissions of Norway.
"We're living with increasingly sweltering summers, a lack of rain is destroying forests and affecting farmers, and with expensive energy bills it's getting harder and harder to put food on the table," Zimmerman said. "Whole workforces and entire communities are exposed to the boom-and-bust of volatile oil and gas markets. And in Germany, floods in 2021 killed 180 people, with reconstruction costs of €30 billion."
"Enough is enough," she added. "Shell must stop drilling, and start paying."
Activist Hussein Ali Ghandour, who is from Lebanon, said aboard the Merida that "I come from the driest region of the world that is warming twice as fast as the global average."
"Across the Middle East and North Africa, droughts, raging forest fires, flash floods, and other climate disasters are now part of our daily realities, aggravating our social and economic woes," he stated. "It is big polluters like Shell that bear the historic responsibility for this loss and damage. The climate justice clock is ticking and polluters must stop developing new fossil fuel projects and pay for the decades of devastation they have caused around the world."
Another Greenpeace activist, Noa Helffer, said: "We know the climate crisis is hitting hardest in countries that are the least to blame; and in Europe we stand in solidarity. Growing up in Italy, we saw waist-high flooding sometimes, and conversely, there's been times where it didn't rain for months, and farmers were left with only dried leaves."
Greenpeace's North Sea protest came as Shell reported its profits more than doubled in 2022 to a record $40 billion.
"Shell's profits are our loss," Helffer said. "It's time to make polluters pay."