SHELL is suing Greenpeace for $2.1million (£1.72m) in damages and calling for an indefinite block on protests on Shell infrastructure after green activists occupied a moving oil platform earlier this year.
Four protestors boarded a platform north of the Canary Islands that was heading to the North Sea, demanding that the energy giant “stop drilling – start paying”.
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But it’s Greenpeace who may be forced to fork out as much as $8.6million (£7m) if contracting companies also pursue damage claims against the group.
Reports suggest that Fluor, an American oil and gas service provider, is seeking £5.3million in damages from Greenpeace.
It’s one of the biggest lawsuits in the environmentalist group’s history and comes after environmental lawyers failed in an attempt to sue 11 Shell directors, holding them personally responsible for the company’s “fundamentally flawed” climate strategy.
Protest must be done “safely and lawfully”
The protest came as Shell recorded record profits of £32billion.
A spokesperson for the company has defended a groups right to protest, but claimed the protest risked lives on the vessel.
They said: “The right to protest is fundamental and we respect it absolutely. But it must be done safely and lawfully.
“Boarding a 72,000 metric ton moving vessel at sea was unlawful and extremely dangerous.
“A judge said Greenpeace protestors were ‘putting their lives and, indirectly, the lives of the crew at risk’.
“The legal costs to secure two court injunctions to prevent further boarding were significant. So were the costs for the companies who had to deal with the action at sea, for example by mobilising an extra safety vessel and increasing security at the port.”
However, Yeb Saño, one of the protesters who boarded Shell’s platform, said: “Shell is trying to silence my legitimate demands: that it must stop its senseless and greedy pursuit of fossil fuels and take accountability for the destruction it is wreaking upon the world.”
Saño added: “I will stand up in court and fight this; and if Shell refuses to stop drilling, I refuse to stop fighting for climate justice.”