Greenpeace protesters scaled the Shell operated Polar Pioneer. Image courtesy of Greenpeace/Twitter.

A group of Greenpeace activists illegally boarded a Shell operated rig Monday to protest the company’s plans to restart its offshore Alaska drilling campaign.

Six Greenpeace members intercepted the Polar Pioneer rig about 750 miles northwest of Hawaii and scaled the 38,000 ton platform, Greenpeace said.

The group said it will set up camp on the underside of the rig’s main deck to protest Shell’s forthcoming Arctic drilling campaign.

Greenpeace told Reuters the group will display a banner decorated with the names of people who oppose Arctic drilling but the protesters will not interfere with the vessel’s travel plans.

“We’re here to highlight that in less than 100 days Shell is going to the Arctic to drill for oil,” Johno Smith, a protester who boarded the rig, told Reuters.

Shell confirmed the boarding and said the protesters are “jeopardizing not only the safety of the crew on board, but the protesters themselves.”

The company’s bid to restart its Arctic drilling campaign scored a major win last week after the U.S. Department of Interior upheld a 2008 Chukchi Sea lease sale that had been suspended after legal challenges.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will now begin a formal review of Shell’s Chukchi Sea exploration plans that will include public engagement and additional environmental analyses.

The company filed an exploration plan in August with the BOEM to drill up to six Arctic wells.

The Interior Department is also considering a request from Shell to extend its time in the Arctic.



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