Greenpeace 'Evades' Danish Navy in Aquatic Assault on Oil Rig

High-seas drama exactly where you'd expect it: off the coast of Greenland

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How long has it been since you've heard exciting news from Greenland? Today may be your day. Early this morning, Greenpeace activists broke a standoff with the Danish navy in Baffin Bay, zipping through a security line on inflatable boats to scale an oil rig. Having deposited an occupying force of four, the boats rushed back to the mother ship, Danish navy in hot pursuit. The four men left behind have now, so Greenpeace says, stopped the drilling and have set up "occupation platforms" which, going by photos, resemble cots dangling over the ocean.

The rig is an exploration venture run by Cairn Energy. Last week, The Guardian reports, it "prompted world-wide alarm among environmentalists after disclosing it had found the first evidence of oil or gas deposits under the Arctic." Greenpeace says the site is a dangerous place to drill, given difficult weather conditions and the fragility of the surrounding environment. Naturally, Greenpeace writers are triumphant at this latest news, the Danish government is irritated, and a few bloggers are gathering around their computers with popcorn.

  • 'Coolest Activist Stunt in Years,' judges Business Insider. "Unlike most stunts," says Gus Lubin, "this one might actually work, delaying the project long enough for the water to freeze over." (For more activist stunts, by the way, see Greenpeace's attempt to project the words "defining stupid" onto an iceberg in another anti-Cairn operation.)
  • 'Blimey, This Is Exciting!' writes Greenpeace's Leila Deen, launching into a dramatic retelling of the glorious conquest. "Up at 4am, the crew scuttling around the Espy, all the portholes shut tight so that the Navy had no idea we were even awake," she explains.
At 5.45 am the Captain said one word over the radio, on a channel we rarely use: 'Go'. In moments the three boats carrying our brave climbers had crossed the 500m security line and arrived at the legs of the Stena Don. Still no response. As we watched through our binoculars, Sim from the US, Jens from Germany, Mateusz from Poland and finally Timo from Finland made their way up the legs of the rig like spidermen. ... The watching is over. The action has begun. We are stopping the Stena Don drilling for oil, their window to complete the drilling is brief before the sea ice returns for the winter. Our climbers are prepared to stay as long as it takes to run Cairn out of time.
  • 'This Is Clearly an Illegal Act,' responds Danish prime minister Kuupik Kleist, reported by Severin Carrell in The Guardian. Kleist calls the move "an illegal attack on the country's constitutional rights," and finds it "worrying that Greenpeace, in their hunt for media exposure, violate security rules made to protect human lives and the environment." Meanwhile, Greenland's deputy police chief Morten Neilson warns: "What we intend to do, how and when, is an operational detail it wouldn't be smart to advise Greenpeace about."
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