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Tuesday 22nd
posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

Greenpeace protest calls on oil giant to halt reef drilling plans

A SEA of inflatable marine creatures descended outside BP’s international headquarters in London yesterday to protest against a “catastrophic” drilling project near a newly discovered South American reef.

Greenpeace activists marched along The Mall and past Trafalgar Square holding placards reading: “BP, Back off the Amazon reef” before arriving at the oil giant’s headquarters.

They were demonstrating against BP plans for exploratory drilling work close to the recently discovered Amazon Reef off the coast of Brazil.

Environmentalists are calling on BP to halt the project as the drilling, which is due to start close to the recently discovered Amazon reef off the coast of Brazil, risks an oil spill that could prove “catastrophic” for marine life.

Scientists announced the discovery of the Amazon Reef in April 2016 following a 2012 study of the region.

It’s around 600 miles long and covers approximately 3,600 square miles off the Brazilian coast — close to the mouth of the Amazon River.

For ocean scientists, the Amazon Reef is “a fascinating puzzle” and home to discoveries of three potential new fish species.

It is also home to large numbers of critically endangered fish, according to scientists who warn that a nearby oil spill would be devastating to the environment.

The Brazilian government has sold 80 licence blocks to oil energy companies in the last decade, including BP and Total which plan to drill in the area.

A group of scientists and television broadcasters — including Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Michaela Strachan and Bill Oddie — signed an open letter in June calling for the oil exploration plans to be paused.

The letter warns that the threat of oil spills from the drilling is high and poses a major risk to vulnerable species including the Amazonian manatee and the leatherback ocean turtle.

It says that BP and Total’s drilling plans could devastate the Amazon Reef before there has been an opportunity to study it properly and suggests that the oil companies have not taken the risk of an oil spill seriously, highlighting BP’s appalling record of environmental disasters.

“The priority should be to protect the reef and surrounding waters,” the letter concludes.

Over one million people across the world have signed a petition opposing the oil-drilling project and nearly 30,000 have written to BP’s chief executive in protest.

BP had not responded to the Star’s request for comment at time of going to print.