The Greenpeace ship Esperanza has arrived in the Arctic to stop Norwegian oil firm Statoil from drilling the world’s northern-most well.
Esperanza arrived on Thursday, ahead of Statoil’s Transocean Spitsbergen rig, which was heading to the site.
The Norwegian authorities had previously removed seven Greenpeace protesters who had boarded the oil rig on 27 May, while another eight protestors left voluntarily.
Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Sune Scheller said: "The Esperanza is a small ship but we are determined to stay on top of this drilling site and stop Statoil from risking Bear Island."
"Arctic oil drilling is risky, it is dangerous, and it must be stopped."
Meanwhile, Statoil has issued a statement: "Statoil is very pleased that the illegal action on the rig now has ended without anyone being injured."
The Norwegian firm said that the rig would continue to the Apollo well in the Hoop area.
"Statoil has a permit to start the drilling operations, but awaits a final decision on a Greenpeace appeal to the Norwegian Ministry of climate and environment before drilling into oil-bearing layers," it added.
The company plans to drill three wells in the Hoop area from late May to September on the Apollo, Atlantis and Mercury prospects in the Barents Sea.
Greenpeace plans to submit a petition to the Norwegian Government today that has been signed by more than 80,000 people, urging for the protection of Bear Island.
Image: Statoil’s Transocean Spitsbergen rig. Photo: courtesy of Statoil.