Greenpeace activists board barge with BP drilling equipment on board

Posted: Monday, August 07, 2000

BARROW, Alaska (AP) -- Activists from the environmental group Greenpeace boarded a barge containing oil drilling equipment early Monday as it was en route to BP Amoco's Northstar project in the Arctic Ocean.

Greenpeace claimed to have had six activists board the barge, though BP spokesman Paul Laird did not have an estimate on how many were actually on board.

The barge was last reported about 70 miles east of Barrow. Laird said the captain of tug pulling the barge was told to ''find a safe place to park.'' The captain had the option of dropping anchor or making for port back in Barrow.

Greenpeace is protesting the Northstar offshore drilling platform, which is under construction in the Arctic Ocean. Northstar would be the first offshore drill in the Arctic, and Greenpeace said that the project would threaten the Arctic's ecosystem.

The activists said that the six protesters boarded the 420-foot barge just after midnight local time. They used what is to be the drilling platform's control room as a ''campaign and communications center'' for their activity.

Greenpeace is calling on BP to turn the barge around, cancel the Northstar project and use the proceeds to fund solar power initiatives. The environmental group managed to get 13 percent of BP's shareholders to vote to stop the project in April.

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