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Campaigners plead for plan release

Activists who staged two protests aboard an oil rig off the coast of Greenland say they will lodge an official complaint with the country's parliament, calling for the release of an oil spill response plan.

Greenpeace campaigners trying to stop deep water oil drilling in Arctic waters say the operating company, Edinburgh-based Cairn Energy, and the authorities in Greenland are keeping the response plan "secret".

On Saturday, 18 activists were arrested after climbing onto the Leiv Eiriksson rig, as they tried to demand details from Cairn about how they would act in the event of an oil spill.

Drilling was suspended for 10 hours as four members of the group locked themselves inside a crane cockpit.

The group launched from the Greenpeace ship Esperanza in five inflatable speedboats from outside a 500 metre exclusion zone set up by Danish authorities. It is believed at least seven of the activists are UK nationals.

The move comes as Cairn seeks an injunction against Greenpeace to prevent the protesters from holding up its drilling schedule any further.

The case is expected to be heard in a Dutch court and if the injunction is granted Greenpeace would have to pay two million euros (£1.78 million) for every day its campaigners stop the Leiv Eiriksson operating.

Greenpeace said it will submit an official complaint to the ombudsman of the Inartsisartut (the Greenland Parliament). The group claims it has applied for 17 different documents but been given access to only two.

Greenpeace claims Greenland's Bureau of Mineral and Petroleum has refused to disclose a series of other documents - which include Cairn's oil spill response plan, papers detailing how Cairn will pay for a clean up operation if a spill occurs, and a series of technical reports that would shed light on the risk involved with Arctic oil drilling.

Cairn, which announced last week that it had begun drilling in two wells in the region, said in a statement: "Cairn takes its responsibilities such as oil spill contingency and response plans very seriously. Cairn, working closely with the Greenland authorities, has developed an extensive emergency response and oil spill response plan. As stipulated by Greenland authorities, the oil spill response documents are not publicly available."


From Belfast Telegraph