An oil rig at the centre of a protest by environmental campaigners has been forced to make a “u-turn” on its way to a North Sea field.
The Transocean PBLJ rig was heading to the Vorlich oil field after being occupied by activists in the Cromarty Firth, north of Inverness, between Sunday and Friday.
It had left the area on Saturday but was being pursued by Greenpeace’s ship, the Arctic Sunrise, and activists failed in an attempt to re-board the rig again on Sunday morning.
The ship then overtook the 27,000-tonne rig, which was under contract to BP, 83 miles off the Scottish coast at 1pm according to the organisation.
Approximately 20 miles away from the drill site the rig made a u-turn and headed on the same track it came from when leaving Cromarty.
Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said: “BP’s oil rig has done a U-turn and we urge chief executive Bob Dudley to do the same.
“BP must stop drilling for new oil and switch to renewables. Pope Francis is absolutely right about the climate emergency. We must take action to save future generations from a ‘brutal injustice’. And we are.
“BP told the Pope on Friday that they want to find the answer to the climate problem. Wherever that answer may lie it’s certainly not in drilling new wells to access 30 million barrels of oil at the bottom of the North Sea.
“This is why BP will face opposition wherever they plan to drill for more oil, from the North Sea to the Arctic and from the mouth of the Amazon to the Gulf of Mexico.
“We have tried letters, meetings, petitions – none of that worked. Now we’re going to stand in BP’s way to prevent further harm to people at the sharp end of the climate crisis.
“In the long run, this is a confrontation BP can’t win. They are in it for their profits, we’re in it for our planet’s future. BP must start ditching the climate-wrecking side of its business and switch to renewables.”
A BP spokesman said: “Reckless attempts by Greenpeace protesters to interfere with the rig while under transport risk the safety not only of those individuals but anyone responding.
“There is also a clear and blatant breach of criminal law and the court orders in place against both Greenpeace and their vessel. Greenpeace is choosing to wilfully break the law.”