Greenpeace protesting against "lawful" drilling in Waddenzee

Apr 29, 1998 02:00 AM

Greenpeace has occupied a Shell/Exxon gas pipe in the Dutch Waddenzee in a bid to stop drilling in these environmentally sensitive waters.
Two protesters clambered onto a platform attached to the top of the pipeline emerging from the water some 30 km from the Dutch coast, with another 12 Greenpeace activists on standby and the Greenpeace ship 'Sirius' anchored 2 km away.
The Waddenzee, a strip of sea between the northern Dutch coast and the Wadden Islands, is home to numerous birds and seals.
The pipe is owned by oil group Nederlandse Aardoliemaatschappij BV (NAM), a 50-50 joint venture between Shell and Exxon.
"Now that a parliamentary majority is against gas exploitation in the Waddenzee, we want politicians to commit themselves to such a ban through a coalition agreement," Greenpeace said.
In September last year a Dutch court outlawed gas drilling off the North Sea coast and in the Waddenzee, but the pipeline occupied by Greenpeace lies just 100 metres outside the prohibited area.
NAM is planning to drill for gas just outside the legal boundary of the protected Wadden area. Spokesman Frank Duut said he expected test drilling to start as planned late next month. "We are there lawfully," he said.
Greenpeace argues the exploration runs counter to the spirit of the law and has pledged to stay put as long as necessary. "NAM's drilling licence is outdated and has been overtaken by recent rulings," the group said.
"We can stay here days, even weeks," Greenpeace campaigner Martijn Lodewijkx has said, speaking from the gas site.
NAM suffered another setback in the Waddenzee when a court ruled it could not set off explosives in its search for gas. The noise would disturb suckling animals, it said.

Source: not available
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