“Peaceful” protesting requires a passive deterrent – how GUARDIAN™ is protecting against the Greenpeace threat

oil rig attackGreenpeace has hit the headlines again this month for boarding another oil rig in protest against drilling in the Artic. This time the protest was thwarted by worsening weather conditions, but the activists still managed to spend a total of six days living in the structure of the oil rig, causing huge disruption, expense and endangering both their own lives and the lives of the crew on-board.

Controversially, the lead story on the Greenpeace website homepage at the time of the attack was entitled “How to climb an Oil Rig” and accompanying pictures depicted a photographic guide on how to do just that. With regular twitter updates from the activists, and hashtags set up to enable supporters to interact directly; this threat to security shows no sign of disappearing.

In fact, Shell took the unprecedented step of filing a complaint in a federal court in Alaska seeking an order to remove the activists which resulted in a judge granting a restraining order against Greenpeace to prevent a repeat of the protest.

Shell spokeswoman, Kelly op de Weegh, issued a statement stating that while Shell respects the views and value the dialogue with those who oppose energy exploration “’We will not, however, condone the illegal tactics employed by Greenpeace. Nor will we allow these stunts to distract from preparations underway to execute a safe and responsible exploration program.”

“Peaceful” protesting, however disruptive to operations, costly and inconvenient, can only be countered morally, and arguably legally, by a passive deterrent. In 2013, 28 Greenpeace International Activists were charged with hooliganism and piracy and incarcerated for three months after boarding Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform, to protest against the production of oil from ice filled Arctic seas. Pictures of the arrest emerged at a much later date, with many questioning the level of force used against “peaceful” protestors. The threat of prison and risk to life– both their own and the crew on board they are endangering – is a risk these passionate protestors are willing to take. If this does not act as a deterrent – what can?

Teresa Stevens, owner and designer of GUARDIAN™anti-piracy barriers, believes the key is to prevent unwanted boarding in the first place. GUARDIAN provides a highly visible, robust and simple way of making access to ship or rig virtually impossible. Teresa says, “Greenpeace have placed numerous seafarers and rig workers in danger. While I appreciate they are warring with the oil companies, the executives who make the decisions will not be placed in jeopardy by these actions, the ordinary men and women who are working to provide for their families will be.  We feel passionately about safeguarding seafarers and will continue to work closely with vessel and oil rig owners to provide a passive solution that stops unwanted boarding.”

GUARDIAN is currently protecting over 200 vessels which includes Tankers, Container ships, Oil drilling ships and a number of Ancillary ships. GUARDIAN is designed to cope in tropical temperatures, protecting a number of vessels in African regions but due to the number of protests from Greenpeace Guardian is now moving North, and finding increasing demand in the arctic region. GUARDIAN can withstand temperatures from – 40 degrees up to +80 degrees. The combined vessel value protected by GUARDIAN in excess of $22 billion, with over 4000 seafarers protected by GUARDIAN on average each day.