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Danish activists swim out to North Sea to demand ban on oil exploration

Danish activist Ida Marie and German activist Fabian swimming with Rainbow Warrior in the background.
Danish activist Ida Marie and German activist Fabian swimming with Rainbow Warrior in the background. Copyright © Andrew McConnell / Greenpeace
Copyright © Andrew McConnell / Greenpeace
By Maeve Campbell
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The Greenpeace activists want to prove that Denmark isn't as green as people think.


Four Greenpeace activists have swum out to the Danish North Sea to call for an immediate ban on oil exploration in Denmark.

The young campaigners were on board the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, when they decided to swim across the Dan oil field to peacefully occupy the oil rig. Their aim was to "show that Denmark isn’t as green as people think," by calling out the country’s support of the oil and gas industry. As well as putting an end to drilling for oil, the activists demand a phase out of domestic fossil fuel production in the country, followed by a massive expansion of clean offshore wind power.

"We are peacefully occupying the Dan Bravo oil rig today to tell leaders that unless they are brave enough to ban the search for new oil and gas in Denmark, they will never be the green frontrunners they claim to be," said 21-year-old Ida Marie.

Andrew McConnell / Greenpeace
Four Greenpeace activistsAndrew McConnell / Greenpeace

Each of the activists carried symbolic gifts as they swam, including Jason Momoa’s trident from the film Aquaman, a woolly hat from Jane Fonda and a video message from Emma Thompson. The items are intended to keep their spirits high as they aim to camp on the oil rig. They claim to have the necessary equipment and supplies to stay onboard the Greenpeace ship for many days, and will be communicating with supporters around the world throughout the protest.

The Dan Bravo rig is the site where Denmark first began extracting oil in 1972. The Danish part of the North Sea now has 55 rigs, which makes Denmark the biggest oil producer and the 7th biggest gas producer in the European Union.

"Banning new oil and gas exploration in the middle of the climate crisis as people around the world are battling floods and fires should be a no-brainer, but the Danish government doesn’t seem to get it," added Ida Marie. "Because of my government’s lack of leadership and responsibility, I’m using the privilege of being able to exercise the right to peacefully protest to expose an old fossil fuel-driven world which is getting in the way of the green recovery we need right now."

Andrew McConnell / Greenpeace
Occupying the North Sea to demand an end to fossil fuel production in DenmarkAndrew McConnell / Greenpeace

Prominent actors along with young climate activists are using the hashtag #WhatWouldYouBring on social media to encourage followers to share images of items in support of the swimming activists and their oil rig occupation.

"The world can’t afford more fossil fuel extraction — the cost to people, nature and the climate is catastrophic," states Ben Ayliffe, Senior Strategist at Greenpeace International. "Denmark has the chance to set a course towards a fairer and cleaner tomorrow, a destination it’s not going to find at the bottom of an oil well under a rusting platform in the North Sea."

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