Greenpeace rig protest brought to an end

Helicopter at rig
Image caption A helicopter arriving at the rig

The occupation of an oil rig by Greenpeace protesters has been brought to an end.

The environmental campaigners had first boarded the Transocean rig in the Cromarty Firth on Sunday evening.

The rig, under contract to BP, had been due to leave from near Invergordon, heading for the Vorlich oil field east of Aberdeen.

Police said nine people in total had been arrested in connection with the demonstration.

The last two men to be removed from the rig were aged 40 and 50. They were taken ashore by boat.

‘Complex operation’

Earlier, a helicopter landed on the rig in an attempt to bring the demonstrations to an end.

Transocean had served an interdict on Greenpeace in an attempt to have protesters still occupying the rig removed.

Greenpeace earlier said it understood there were plans to lower the rig down into the sea to give police easier access from a boat to where the protesters were camped.

Image caption Greenpeace campaigners first climbed on to the rig on Sunday evening

Ch Supt George Macdonald, Highlands and Islands divisional commander, said: “The particular nature of this protest on an oil platform within a marine environment made this an extremely complex and challenging operation.

“The safety of all involved was of paramount importance and we have utilised highly-trained specialist officers from across the entirety of Police Scotland to deal with this incident.

“Police Scotland fully understand the rights and privileges of peaceful protests, however, there is a balance when such actions are potentially reckless and compromise safety. We also have a duty to act where criminality is suspected or identified.”

He added that inquiries were ongoing.

‘Irresponsible actions’

A BP spokesman said: “BP is grateful for the support of Police Scotland, Transocean and all authorities who helped bring this incident to a safe conclusion.

“It was a complex operation that required specialist skills and resources to be mobilised from across the country and was carried out in a professional and respectful manner.

“Police Scotland, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Port of Cromarty Firth worked together, dedicating time and resources in response to the protestors’ actions. This response diverted significant time and resources away from public services, including Police Scotland.”

He added: “BP supports discussion, debate and peaceful demonstration, but the irresponsible actions of Greenpeace put themselves and others unnecessarily at risk.

“We share the protestors’ concerns about climate change, we support the Paris agreement and are committed to playing our part to advance the energy transition.

“However, progress to a lower carbon future will depend on coming together, understanding each other’s perspectives and working to find solutions, not dangerous PR stunts that exacerbate divisions and create risks to both life and property.”

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