Shell has taken legal action against Greenpeace, seeking $2.1 million in damages due to a protest by the environmental organization against the use of fossil fuels in the North Sea.
Shell has filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace for $2.1 million in damages, making it one of the largest legal actions ever taken against the organization. This comes after Greenpeace activists occupied a moving oil platform earlier this year.
The legal action requests a permanent ban on any demonstrations at Shell facilities on the ocean or in harbors worldwide. If other companies involved in contracts also seek compensation, the total amount of claims could reach up to $8.6 million (£7 million).
The oil company has launched a significant legal challenge against Greenpeace, which is the largest one in the environmental group’s 50-year existence. This action was taken after Greenpeace activists occupied a floating oil platform in January to protest Shell’s negative impact on the climate.
Four activists from Greenpeace climbed onto the platform located north of the Canary Islands while it was en route to the Shetland Islands. They carried signs urging the fossil fuel company to cease drilling and take action to compensate.
The oil company and climate activists have exchanged legal threats, following an unsuccessful effort by environmental lawyers from ClientEarth to take legal action against 11 of Shell’s directors in London. The activists aimed to hold the directors accountable for the company’s flawed approach to addressing climate change.
The Dutch court has instructed Shell to reduce their oil and gas emissions by 45% by 2030, a groundbreaking decision made after Friends of the Earth and over 17,000 others sued the company.
According to Greenpeace, Shell has been employing “forceful legal measures” in an effort to “suppress increasing opposition towards CEO Wael Sawan’s decision to increase investment in fossil fuels.”
According to Yeb Saño, who serves as the executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia and was among the demonstrators who boarded Shell’s platform, the company is attempting to quiet his justifiable requests. He demands that Shell cease its reckless and selfish search for fossil fuels and take responsibility for the harm it is causing to the environment.
Saño added: “I will stand up in court and fight this; and if Shell refuses to stop drilling, I refuse to stop fighting for climate justice.”
Shell has refuted Greenpeace’s portrayal of the conflict as a crackdown on all types of demonstration, clarifying that their legal action is specifically focused on maritime structures due to the priority of ensuring protester safety.
“Our statement has been misunderstood,” stated a representative from Shell. “Our goal is to avoid any actions at sea or in port that could put lives at risk, as happened earlier this year. There are no further motives behind this.”
We fully acknowledge and respect the fundamental right to protest. However, it must be carried out in a safe and lawful manner. Shell and its contractors have the right to recoup the considerable expenses incurred while responding to the risky actions of Greenpeace,” stated the spokesperson.
The company reported incurring substantial legal expenses in obtaining two court orders to prevent protesters from boarding. They have also spent money on deploying an additional safety vessel and enhancing security measures.
Ensuring the well-being of the protesters and crew was our top priority. We took prompt action to implement safety measures for everyone’s protection.
The company has previously stated that the oil platform protest was a matter of safety. According to a spokesperson from Shell, “These actions are causing legitimate worries about safety, as several individuals have boarded a moving vessel in rough weather conditions. We recognize the right of individuals to voice their opinions, but it is crucial that they prioritize their own safety and that of others.”
Areeba Hamid, one of the co-executive directors at Greenpeace UK, has accused Shell of attempting to suppress Greenpeace’s advocacy efforts. This action is seen as an attempt to silence valid calls for climate justice and compensation for losses and damages.
She stated that we must reject this case and have the government oversee Shell’s actions, as it is evident that Sawan is solely focused on making profits, without regard for human consequences.