Six Greenpeace activists leave Arctic-bound oil rig

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 11, 2015 8:16 PM

By Alex Dobuzinskis

(Reuters) - Six Greenpeace activists rappelled down from an oil rig in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday after spending six days living on the structure to protest drilling in the Arctic, the environmental organization said.

The multinational team climbed aboard Polar Pioneer, an oil rig leased by Royal Dutch Shell Plc that is bound for the Arctic, on Monday as it was being transported by a heavy-lift vessel about 750 miles (1,207 km) northwest of Hawaii. Two days later, the company filed a complaint in federal court in Alaska seeking an order to remove the activists.

Worsening weather conditions that were expected to bring high swells led the six activists to leave the oil rig on Saturday, a Greenpeace representative said in an email.

They climbed down into inflatable boats and returned to the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, which had been stationed in the area in recent days and which had brought the activists out into the Pacific Ocean for the protest.

Shell had said the protesters had jeopardized the safety of themselves and the crew assigned to the oil rig.

A representative from Shell could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.

Greenpeace said its team of activists did not interfere with the crew transporting the oil rig. The organization had earlier said on its website that the activists had enough supplies to last for several days on the rig.

"I might be climbing off this oil rig, but this is merely a transition into the next step of saving the Arctic," American Aliyah Field, one of the six activists, said in a statement.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Marguerita Choy)