BP oil rig voyage to North Sea repeatedly hindered by protesters

Image: MarineTraffic.com/David Meek
Image: MarineTraffic.com/David MeekPaul B. Loyd Jr.

The scheduled voyage of a BP-chartered oil rig to the North Sea for a planned drilling project has been continually disrupted by protesters from the environmental activist group Greenpeace.

The Transocean-owned rig Paul B. Loyd Jr. was scheduled to sail out to the Vorlich field 241 kilometres east of Aberdeen on June 9 when a group of protesters illegally boarded the rig to prevent its departure from the Port of Cromarty Firth. Eleven activists have since been arrested by UK police for the unauthorised boarding.

The rig finally sailed out for the Vorlich field on June 16 but had to reverse course twice in as many days after Greenpeace vessels led by the icebreaker Arctic Sunrise pursued it and forced it to turn back.

In a statement, BP said that it recognises “the right to peaceful protest” but that it condemns the Greenpeace members’ “irresponsible” actions that “may put themselves and others unnecessarily at risk.”

BP adds that it has been working with Transocean and local authorities in the UK to peacefully bring an end to the disruptions, which it claims are “a clear and blatant breach of criminal law.”

The company reiterated that it shares the protesters’ concerns about climate change and is thus working towards helping ensure reduced carbon emissions worldwide.

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