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Shell is suing Greenpeace for millions of dollars in damages after the environmentalists boarded early this year a vessel in the Atlantic en route to a future oilfield in the UK North Sea.
Shell has filed the lawsuit in London's High Court, demanding $2.1 million in damages, including legal costs, additional expenses for security, and costs incurred by shipping delays, a document seen by Reuters showed on Thursday.
Greenpeace claims Shell has hit the climate campaign group with an “intimidation lawsuit,” threatening an $8.6-million damages claim and a protest ban to silence climate demands.
“Oil giant Shell has launched an intimidation lawsuit against Greenpeace UK and Greenpeace International – demanding Greenpeace stop protests at its infrastructure at sea or in port anywhere in the world, forever, or face an $8.6m damages claim and an injunction,” the campaign group said on Thursday.
The lawsuit relates to Greenpeace’s stunt early this year when four Greenpeace International activists boarded the White Marlin vessel at sea north of the Canary Islands and en route to the Penguins oil and gas field in the UK North Sea, where Shell plans to drill eight wells.
The activists carried a banner bearing the message: “Stop Drilling. Start Paying”.
“Shell and the wider fossil fuel industry are bringing the climate crisis into our homes, our families, our landscapes and oceans,” Yeb Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said at the time.
“So we will take them on at sea, at shareholder meetings, in the courtroom, online, and at their headquarters. We won’t stop until we get climate justice. We will make polluters pay.”
Shell, while acknowledging the fundamental right to protest, told Reuters in an email that boarding a moving vessel at sea was “unlawful and extremely dangerous.”
The UK-based supermajor confirmed to Reuters it had initiated legal proceedings against Greenpeace, but declined to comment on the amount of the damages claim.
Last month, Greenpeace and another environmental group, Uplift, which had attacked the UK’s new licenses for oil and gas production in court, lost the legal challenge which was dismissed by London’s High Court.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.