A trade union boss has told Greenpeace to “back off” and let North Sea rig workers get on with their jobs.
RMT regional organiser Jake Molloy said the environmental group had “made its point” with its attempts to stop a rig drilling a well for BP over the last week.
Mr Molloy labelled Greenpeace “irresponsible, blinkered and subjective” and advised the organisation to target other countries whose emissions far outstrip the UK’s.
And the longer the standoff persists, the greater the likelihood of the rig crews being stood down and left out of pocket, he claimed.
Greenpeace said this morning that its Arctic Sunrise ice breaker had blocked the Transocean-owned Paul B Loyd Jr rig from reaching BP’s Vorlich field for the second time in less than 48 hours.
The rig was sailing back towards the north-east coast of Scotland as of noon today, according to vessel tracking website Marine Traffic.
Greenpeace said it was determined to stop BP drilling new oil wells in the North Sea and urged the firm to invest only in renewable energy.
The installation was prevented from leaving the Cromarty Firth between Sunday and Friday last week by a succession of activists clambering on board.
It eventually departed after two demonstrators were arrested on Friday afternoon. A total of 14 arrests have been made over the course of the protest.
It’s understood activists tried to board the rig again yesterday morning during transit.
Mr Molloy said the situation was becoming “untenable for everyone involved” and that Greenpeace’s attempts to re-occupy and obstruct the rig were “dangerous and irresponsible”.
Mr Molloy said he supported the principle of moving to a carbon free world.
But the union official said he was “bemused” that Greenpeace was taking a stand in the UK and stressed that the country was “not the worst offender” when it comes to emissions.
He said taking up the fight in countries which burn large amounts of coal or product large volumes of fracked gas would be more appropriate.
He also pointed out that about 80% of UK homes are heated by gas.
“Greenpeace is not providing the most objective of arguments and is not making its case in an appropriate manner,” he said.
“The drilling will be done in an environmentally friendly and regulated way, unlike in other parts of the world where the regulations are not as stringent.
“There are lots of important aspects Greenpeace is failing to acknowledge. It’s time they backed off. They’ve made their point.
“They should go and try to make an impact where it will really have an effect.”
A spokesman for BP said: “Reckless attempts by Greenpeace protestors to interfere with the rig while under transport risk the safety not only of those individuals but anyone responding.
“There is also a clear and blatant breach of criminal law and the court orders in place against both Greenpeace and their vessel. Greenpeace is choosing to wilfully break the law.”