London (Reuters) —
Shell is suing Greenpeace for $2.1 million, or the equivalent of IDR 33 billion, in compensation after the environmental group’s activists were forced to board the company’s fuel tanker while transiting at sea this year. This is based on Greenpeace’s statement and a document seen by Reuters.
The British oil and gas company filed the lawsuit at the London High Court in January. Greenpeace activists boarded the ship near the Canary Islands off the Atlantic coast of north Africa in January as part of an oil drilling protest. Greenpeace members also accompanied the ship to Norway.
Shell confirmed that legal proceedings were ongoing, in an email to Reuters. However, they refused to comment on the amount of the claim.
Boarding a moving vessel at sea is “unlawful and extremely dangerous,” a Shell spokesman said.
“The right to protest is fundamental and we respect it very much. However, this must be done safely and legally,” the spokesperson said.
A police boat sails near Greenpeace members blocking the tanker ‘Ust Luga’ delivering Russian oil to Norway near Asgardstrand, Norway, April 25, 2022. (Photo: via Reuters)
The ship was aimed at the Penguins oil and gas field in the North Sea, which is not yet producing.
Four Greenpeace activists used ropes to climb onto the ship, from a rubber dinghy that was chasing the ship at high speed.
Protests at sea against oil, gas or mining infrastructure have long been part of Greenpeace’s operations.
The damages Shell is seeking include costs related to delivery delays and additional security costs, as well as legal fees, according to documents seen by Reuters.
“The claim represents one of the biggest legal threats to the Greenpeace network’s ability to campaign in the organization’s more than 50-year history,” Greenpeace said in a statement.
The group said Shell offered to reduce its damage claim to $1.4 million or Rp. 21.9 billion if Greenpeace activists would not stage further protests against Shell’s oil and gas infrastructure at sea or in port.
Greenpeace said it would only do so if Shell complied with a 2021 Dutch court order ordering the corporation to cut its emissions by 45 percent by 2030. Shell is appealing the ruling.
A claim for additional damages of about $6.5 million by one of Shell’s contractors, Fluor, has not been resolved, according to documents seen by Reuters. Fluor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shell and Greenpeace have held negotiations since the case was filed. However, the talks ended in early November, Greenpeace said. They said they were waiting for Shell to file further documents with the court.
Greenpeace said they would then consider next steps, including ways to stop this case from continuing. (ah/ft/hs)