Oil and gas company Shell has demanded a huge damages claim from Greenpeace before the High Court in London, unless the organization stops all its further protests against the company worldwide. The environmental organization speaks of intimidation.
At the beginning of this year, Greenpeace took action on Shell’s Penguins platform, the first new mobile installation in the northern North Sea in thirty years. On January 31, Greenpeace activists climbed aboard the platform in the Canary Islands and stayed there for thirteen days.
Shell calls that action ‘illegal and extremely dangerous’. A spokesperson said the company respects the right to demonstrate, but that it must be ‘safe and lawful’. Shell demands before the High Court in London that Greenpeace forever stop its protests against the oil company, at sea and in ports. If not, the environmental organization faces a damage claim of 8.6 million dollars.
Greenpeace calls it one of the biggest legal threats in its more than fifty-year history. One of the activists named in the claim is Yeb Sano, director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. Saño, who once represented the Philippines in climate talks, tried to climb aboard the platform himself and later protested the installation’s arrival at a Norwegian port.
“If Shell refuses to stop drilling, I refuse to stop the fight for climate justice.”
“Ten years ago, I spoke at the climate summit while my own brother was still missing after the passage of super hurricane Haiyan,” he says. ‘He survived, but also helped recover the bodies of 78 innocent people who were less fortunate. Shell is trying to stifle my legitimate demands: that the company stop the senseless and greedy search for fossil fuels and take responsibility for the destruction of the earth. I will oppose this in court. If Shell refuses to stop drilling, I refuse to stop the fight for climate justice.”
Greenpeace director Areeba Hamid sees the claim as an attempt to stem the growing protests against the policy of the new Shell CEO Wael Sawan to silence.
‘Under Wael Sawan, Shell has abandoned every good intention. “It’s all about a sinister strategy that is not only risky for shareholders, but completely devastating for those on the front lines of the climate crisis,” he says. “Now he’s trying to block Greenpeace’s ability to campaign, and in doing so, he’s also trying to block legitimate demands for climate justice and loss and damage to stop.’