Shell is suing Greenpeace for £1.7 million after its protesters occupied an oil platform for 13 days.
The oil giant said it supports the right to peaceful protest, but the “illegal and extremely dangerous” action put the lives of both protesters and crew at risk.
Six activists boarded the oil rig being towed in January near the Canary Islands off the Atlantic coast of North Africa to protest oil drilling.
They traveled in it for 13 days and almost 4,000 kilometers, reaching Norway.
They used ropes to haul themselves onto the ship from inflatable boats that chased the ship at high speed as it traveled to the Penguins oil and gas field in the North Sea, which is not yet in production.
‘Illegal’: Greenpeace activists aboard Shell drilling platform near Canary Islands in protest
Greenpeace said the lawsuit is an attempt to “crush and intimidate” the group. Shell has brought the claim to the High Court in London.
The damages Shell is seeking include costs related to shipping delays and additional security expenses, as well as legal costs.
“The lawsuit is one of the largest legal threats to the Greenpeace network’s ability to campaign in the organization’s more than 50-year history,” Greenpeace said.
The group said Shell had offered to reduce its damage claim to £1.1 million if Greenpeace activists agreed not to protest again against any oil and gas infrastructure at sea or in the port.
Greenpeace said it would only do so if Shell complied with a 2021 Dutch court order to reduce its emissions by 45 percent by 2030, which Shell has appealed.
Greenpeace said it will then consider its next steps, including ways to stop the case.
Southeast Asia chief Yeb Sano, whose name appears in the legal complaint, said: “Shell is trying to silence legitimate demands – it must stop its reckless and greedy pursuit of fossil fuels and take responsibility… I will stand up in court and I will fight.” this.’
Shell said: ‘The right to protest is fundamental… But it must be done safely and legally. Boarding a 72,000 tonne ship moving at sea was illegal and extremely dangerous.’