Shell is suing Greenpeace for a total of $2.1 million in penalties after the organisation’s activists boarded its oil production vessel in transit this year.
The claim was brought in London’s High Court by the British Oil and Gas Company. Greenpeace activists boarded the ship close to the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa’s northern region, in January to protest oil drilling and went to Norway aboard it.
Via a mail to Reuters, Shell has confirmed that the legal proceedings were ongoing when asked if it was really suing Greenpeace regarding the incident but refused to comment on the claim amounts.
A Shell spokesperson said that getting on a moving ship while at sea was extremely dangerous and unlawful.
They acknowledge that it is a fundamental right to protest and respect it. But it must be done lawfully and safely, the spokesperson said.
The ship was bound for the North Sea’s Penguins oil and gas field, which is not yet operational.
Four Greenpeace activists utilized ropes to pull themselves aboard the ship from inflatable boats, chasing it at high speed.
Greenpeace has historically staged demonstrations at sea against oil, gas, and mining installations.
According to a document obtained by Reuters, the damages sought by Shell include costs associated with shipment delays and extra security, in addition to legal fees.
Greenpeace and Shell have been in talks since the complaint was filed, but talks ceased in early November, according to Greenpeace, which has begun waiting for Shell to produce additional documents in court.
Greenpeace stated it will examine its next measures, including whether to intervene in the case.
The claim constitutes one of the most significant legal risks against the Greenpeace network’s capacity to advocate in the organization’s more than 50-year history, the group said in a statement.
According to the group, Shell has offered to decrease the damage claim to $1.4 million provided Greenpeace members promise not to demonstrate against any of Shell’s oil and gas equipment at sea or in port again.
Greenpeace claimed it would only do so if Shell followed a 2021 Dutch court decision to reduce emissions by 45% through 2030, which Shell has challenged.
According to the document obtained by Reuters, a Shell contractor, Fluor (FLR.N), has filed a claim for further damages for $6.5 million. Fluor did not reply quickly to the request for comment.
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