Greenpeace ship departs London with promise to confront 'reckless' oil industry

Last edited 12 August 2010 at 2:01pm
12 August, 2010

The Greenpeace ship Esperanza will set off from London later today to confront the oil industry's 'reckless pursuit' of the last drops of oil on the planet, but campaigners are refusing to reveal the eventual target until later in the voyage.

The environmental group pledged to meet the industry head-on as it rushes to drill for oil in ever more difficult and dangerous environments (1).

Greenpeace also released an interactive map at featuring ten of the most dangerous drilling sites in the world. The map also shows the current location of the ship, so that supporters can monitor the voyage in real time.

reenpeace climate campaigner Leila Deen, who is currently on board the ship, said:

"It's time to go beyond oil. A handful of powerful companies are taking huge risks with the natural world and our climate instead of developing the clean tools we need to fight climate change and end our crippling addiction to fossil fuels.

"This problem goes far beyond the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, and we're going to confront what the 21st century oil business has become - desperate, dirty, and incredibly dangerous."

The interactive map shows regions including the Northern Mediterranean, the Arctic and the Atlantic Frontier to the west of the Shetland Islands. Some of the world's biggest oil companies operate in these areas including BP, Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

Greenpeace says it is refusing to announce the ship's final destination in order to put the entire industry on notice and prevent possible targets from employing an expensive PR response in advance.

The group is inviting the public to follow the progress of The Esperanza, a 2,076 tonne ship with room for 33 crew (2), as it begins its controversial voyage and promised live updates, blogs and tweets as the ship passes possible targets. The final destination will only become clear as the voyage progresses but will be revealed on the website

Greenpeace will also be asking its UK supporters to email Climate and Energy secretary Chris Huhne to urge him to introduce a moratorium on deep-sea drilling in UK coastal waters.

The US has already introduced a moratorium on new drilling in depths below 500ft following the catastrophic failure of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig, and EU energy commissioner Gunther Oettinger has said that 'any responsible government would at present practically freeze new permits for drilling.' (3).

In contrast, the UK government has announced new tax breaks for off-shore projects which have led to a rush of applications for deepwater drilling from companies including BP and Total (4).

The Greenpeace 'target list' covers new drilling in the Atlantic Frontier to the west of the Shetland Islands, an area where BP is looking to expand (5)and where a serious spill could cause lasting damage to local populations of whales, dolphins and other marine life. BP is also implicated in the 'most dangerous' map through its operations in Asia and Australasia.

For more information, interviews and images of the ship leaving the capital please contact the Greenpeace press office on 0207 865 8255



Another Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, is also setting out today on a three-month science expedition in the Gulf of Mexico to support independent research into the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on marine life.


(1) To see the interactive map please visit





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