Greenpeace Blockade of Off-Shore Drilling Rig




In the summer of 1997, the environmental group Greenpeace anchored its ship The Arctic Sunrise next to a massive concrete island drilling rig in the Beaufort Sea.  ARCO was preparing to move the rig to a new exploration site to complete the very short summer drilling season.  The company’s ability to complete exploration plans was at risk, as well as the safety of people on the rig, the protestors and responders.   


  Inform the public, press and employees about the incident
  Show how Greenpeace was creating a safety hazard for the public, company workers, and the people on its ship

  Develop support for the company position that Greenpeace was attempting to stop a legally permitted operation
  Manage all media relations, with inquiries coming from around the country
 Provide regular briefings for employees via e-mail to keep them current on the incident
 Coordinate communication activities with the U.S. Coast Guard, state and federal regulatory agencies
 Maintain regular contact with key constituencies, including Alaska Natives whose annual whale hunt was in jeopardy if the rig could not be moved on schedule


After one month, Greenpeace retreated to waters outside U.S. jurisdiction when authorities learned that undocumented aliens were on board.  Throughout the incident, press reports and editorials favored the company position; ARCO prevailed in all lawsuits filed in connection with the Greenpeace activities; and no one was injured.




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