WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Six activists from the environmental group Greenpeace boarded a Shell Oil Company rig in the Pacific Ocean to protest a decision by the US Department of Interior to allow oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Sea off of the US state of Alaska, Greenpeace said in a press release on Monday.
“The multi-national team of volunteers will set up camp on the underside of the Polar Pioneer’s main deck,” Greenpeace stated. “They have supplies to last for several days and are equipped with technology which will allow them to communicate with supporters around the world in real-time, despite being hundreds of miles from land.”
The Polar Pioneer is one of two rigs belonging to Shell Oil that the company plans to use to drill for oil and gas in the Chukchi Sea after a decision last week by the Interior Department to allow exploration off Alaska’s coast.
Greenpeace said that within 100 days of a lease approved by the US Interior Department, the Shell Oil could begin exploration.
Johno Smith, one of the six activists, tweeted from the rig that, “Today we board Shells oil rig to highlight the disaster that fossil fuels will cause to our planet and everything we call home.”
Environmental organizations are against Arctic drilling in the Chukchi Sea given the region’s unique environment and technical difficulties of extracting oil and gas from offshore Arctic fields.
The Interior Department said last week proposed Arctic drilling standards include environmental regulations as well as criteria through all steps of the extraction process, from drilling to transportation.
Despite regulations on offshore oil and gas drilling, the United States has experienced a number of maritime oil and gas disasters, including the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the 1989 Exxon Valdez crash in Alaska’s Prince William Sound, which left behind long-term environmental destruction and economic hardship.