‘Polar bear’ protesters call for freeze on oil plan secrecy


By Kirsty Topping and Claire Cameron


Protesters dressed as polar bears barricaded themselves into the building

DOZENS of Greenpeace campaigners dressed as polar bears stormed the headquarters of an Arctic drilling company today (Mon).

The group chained themselves together in the offices of Cairn Energy, a company responsible for deep-water drilling in the polar region, and say they have enough supplies to keep the protest going for


The activists targeted the firm to protest at the company’s actions and their refusal publish plans detailing how it would deal with an oil spill.

Bemused employees continued to work despite protesters searching the office for the documents and police officers were stationed at the doors of the fifth floor premises.

Just after 8am more than 60 people walked into the building in Edinburgh to search for the plans. They also urged the company’s employees to anonymously leak the plans.

Five activists dressed as polar bears barricaded themselves into the office of the firm’s principle development geologist.

Protester Simon Hackin said:

“We are searching for one document only – all we want is the oil spill response plans that Cairn supposedly has in place should the drilling in the arctic fail. The polar bears have been searching through the files all morning, but nothing yet. We don’t want to touch any thing that doesn’t belong to us – if the plans could be given to us or published, then that would be ideal.’Greenpeace are concerned that if Cairn’s drilling was to cause a major oil spill that the company would be too small to deal with it.

The protest coordinator, who identified herself only as Vicky, said: “Scientists and government experts have proven that any oil spill would be near impossible to clean up. Cairn is a small company – there is no way it could even afford such a major operation, even if it was possible.”

Arundhati Muthu, who had travelled from India to take part in the protest, added: “If there is a spill in the arctic, it will be far worse than the gulf of Mexico spill. It is too fragile an environment to recover from such damage.

“This company’s actions will have global repercussions. People throughout the world will be affected by this.”More than 50,000 have already written to the company asking them to release the plans.

Greenpeace UK campaigner Paul Morrozzo, said:

“It is normal oil industry practice for these documents to be made public but Cairn knows how completely inadequate their plans are, and how embarrassing it would be for them to have to face independent and expert scrutiny.’A police spokeswoman said:

“We are in attendance at Cairn Energy and are facilitating a peaceful protest. “

In a statement, Cairn Energy said: “Cairn respects the rights of individuals and organisations to express their views in a safe and peaceful manner but would be concerned with any action that presents a risk to the safety of people and or equipment. Wherever it is active, Cairn operates in a safe and prudent manner.

“The Greenland Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum has established some of the most stringent operating regulations anywhere globally, which mirror those applied in the Norwegian North Sea. It is in the interests of theGreenlandgovernment to put in place the most stringent and robust measures. Cairn takes its responsibilities such as oil spill contingency and response plans very seriously.”

At around 5pm police arrived with cutting equipment and started to remove the bears from the building.



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