In an attempt to stop the global petrochemical and energy company, Shell, from drilling oil in the Arctic, six people from around the world have climbed onto its drilling rig, Polar Pioneer.
Greenpeace considers that melting ice in the Arctic was initially caused by oil companies extracting fossil fuels. Should there be an oil spill, there would be more destruction caused than there already is.
Greenpeace ship, Esperanza, had followed the drill ship, Noble Discoverer and Polar Pioneer since it left Brunei Bay, in Malaysia.
On board the Esperanza are 35 crew members; two of whom are Fijian: Victor Pickering and Apisalome Waqanisau.
“We see the effects of climate change every day. For the past few years now, coastal villages have been moving inland to higher ground because the floods, especially in the low-lying areas are very huge and it causes a lot of destruction. Slowly the seawater is going into our drinking water so soon we won’t have any freshwater,” says Apisalome.
“Shell’s plans for Arctic drilling is going to be devastating for the rest of the world, not only for the Arctic, for the Pacific it’s very real. Even though it’s happening so far away, we will feel the impacts.”
So we need to raise our voices, we need to come together, we need to move together, come in unity and get the message out there,” adds Victor.
The six climbers are now in the North Pacific Ocean, still on Polar Pioneer and on their twentieth leg of the campaign.
Shell on the other hand, adhere that they have established relationships with local communities and others such as governments, regulators, non-governmental organisations that advise on social and environmental procedures that should be taken.
Noble Discoverer is bound for Seattle, where Shell intends it to be the base for the Arctic fleet, although having had opposition from groups in Seattle.
A day after Greenpeace confirmed its action, Shell released a statement in opposition to the protest stating, “These acts are far from peaceful demonstrations.”
The company has filed a complaint in federal court, in Alaska, restricting the six people from illegally boarding their vessels, and to prevent similar encounters in future.
The Greenpeace team remain adamant on Noble Discoverer’s tail, unknowing where their journey will end, and whether they will succeed or not.