Greenpeace in tense oil standoff

2012-08-27 14:11
Greenpeace activists have chained themselves to the anchor chain of the Anna Akhmatova, the vessel which was carrying Gazprom's workers to the Prirazlomnaya platform. (Denis Sinyakov, Greenpeace, HO, AP)

Greenpeace activists have chained themselves to the anchor chain of the Anna Akhmatova, the vessel which was carrying Gazprom's workers to the Prirazlomnaya platform. (Denis Sinyakov, Greenpeace, HO, AP)

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Cape Town - Greenpeace activists are engaged in a tense standoff with an oil company in the Arctic Ocean.

Members of the environmental organisation occupied the Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Pechora Sea to protest the company's plans to drill for oil in the sensitive Arctic region.

On Saturday, six members, including South African Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace's global chief, were shot at with water cannons after disrupting work on the platform.

"The activists have attached themselves to the anchor chain of the Anna Akhmatova and chained their boat to it, preventing the ship from lifting anchor and sailing to the platform to complete the work that will allow them to begin drilling in this fragile region," Greenpeace said.

Climate change has resulted in the warming of the Arctic Ocean and some scientists have said that the region could be ice free before 2020.

Many countries have launched programmes to investigate the possibility of drilling for oil in the region, thought to hold 32% of global undiscovered energy reserves.

There are currently 14 activists aboard the platform and the Prirazlomnaya has requested help from the Russian Coast Guard, who are on the scene, but have not yet intervened, Greenpeace reported.

"Today we're taking peaceful action in the heart of Arctic destruction to stop this platform from wrecking these pristine waters. Nearly two million people have already joined our campaign to protect this unique region and we will do all we can to keep it off-limits to reckless oil companies looking to profit from its exploitation," said Naidoo.

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