A SHROPSHIRE woman has scaled a Norwegian oil rig in the Arctic Circle in a defiant stand against deep drilling of a “fragile and unique” ecosystem.
Greenpeace member Katie Furlong, from Telford, joined a handful of fellow activists in a daring boarding operation early yesterday morning.
Their pontoon boat was dwarfed by the 38,000-ton Transocean Spitsbergen platform as it relocated to a new drilling site in the Barents Sea.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has estimated that the Barents Sea could hold up to 40 per cent of the country’s untapped reserves.
But environmental groups fear the latest site would threaten all life on the nearby Bear Island, a pristine wildlife sanctuary inhabited by a range of rare and endangered species, including the vulnerable polar bear.
A spokesman for platform operator Statoil confirmed that the “illegal and irresponsible” operation had forced a halt to the rig’s voyage until the activists had left the vessel.
But Greenpeace responded that their crew had no intention of leaving until Statoil promised not to drill in the region.
Ms Furlong said: “I’m here because I truly believe that the time is now to end our dependence on oil and to move towards a clean and renewable future.
“We live on a beautiful, fragile and unique planet, and there is no plan B for Earth.
“We should be safeguarding its future, not destroying it for the last drop of oil.
“I want to look back and be proud that I stood up with five million Arctic defenders to say ‘no more,’ and not regret that I could see what was wrong and did nothing.”
The new action comes mere weeks after dozens of Greenpeace activists in the Netherlands sought to blockade a Gazprom oil tanker from docking in Rotterdam with the company’s first payload from the Arctic’s Pechora Sea.
The Prirazlomnaya platform from which it came was also a target for Greenpeace occupation last year.
Russian forces arrested the activists involved and charged them with piracy before eventually releasing the group under amnesty.