Activists pulled off BP barge

Posted: Wednesday, August 09, 2000

BARROW -- Law enforcement officers boarded a barge carrying equipment for BP's Northstar oil field Tuesday afternoon and took several Greenpeace activists into custody.

The North Slope Borough Police Department said seven people were arrested without incident on the Crowley Marine barge anchored near the community.

Arrested and charged with criminal trespass were Stephanie Tunmore, Kevin Benn, John Cunninghan and Allan Vincent of Great Britain, Kimberly Medeiros and Matthew Wilford of the United States, and Christian Aslund of Sweden, according to police. The charge carries a maximum jail sentence of 90 days and a fine of up to $1,000.

The activists boarded the 420-foot barge early Monday to protest BP's new offshore oil field, called Northstar, as it headed for the field 200 miles east of Barrow.

The barge, then about 70 miles east of town, was towed back to Barrow and anchored there Monday. The barge is loaded with equipment for Northstar, including a module made in Anchorage.

The vessel was to remain at anchor until police finished their investigation, said Ronnie Chappell, a spokesman for BP in Anchorage.

``The plan is to wait until police have finished their business out on the barge. When it is released to us, it is our plan to get it moving toward Prudhoe as soon as possible,'' Chappell said.

Greenpeace contends the offshore field is environmentally dangerous and BP should be spending money to develop alternative energy sources instead.

Last winter, Greenpeace activists set up a camp on the sea ice near Northstar. At least nine Greenpeace activists were arrested then for trespassing at the human-made island being built to support drilling for the 145-million barrel field north of Prudhoe Bay, about six miles offshore in the Beaufort Sea.

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