Two helicopter-borne Greenpeace activists landed on an old, unused oil platform Friday as it was being towed out to sea and refused to budge until Shell U.K. Ltd. scraps plans to junk it in the Atlantic Ocean.
“They intend to stay there until Shell says it will dismantle this platform on land,” said the environmental group’s spokesman, Marius Frederikse.
European politicians have protested as well. Danish Environment Minister Svend Auken called Shell’s plans “abominable” and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl asked Prime Minister John Major to find some other way to dispose of the defunct platform.
Yet despite the growing objections, the company stuck by its intention to sink the Brent Spar in a seabed trench in 1-mile-deep international waters 150 miles west of the Outer Hebrides.
However, it conceded that bad weather and interference from the environmental group could lead to a delay in ditching the platform.
With its action Friday, Greenpeace intended to dramatize its claims that sinking the platform will poison the sea with 130 tons of waste.
Environmentalists are also concerned that dumping the huge metal structure will create a precedent that would allow the ocean floor to be used as a junkyard.
The two activists, equipped with food and cold weather gear, were lowered from their helicopter as the oil platform was being towed northwest of the Shetland Islands.