Seven questions for Chevron

I don’t deny that Shetlink has its uses. For example, it’s a place where the ignorant, the daft and the downright nasty can vent their spleen without any editorial control (apparently) but also without causing much harm. Normally I ignore the ravings of its more eccentric contributors. However, some of the Shetlink petrolheads’ comments on the Greenpeace protest are getting Shetland a bad name.

Perhaps I’m the only islander who admits to a sneaking admiration for those young idealists perched on the Stena Carron‘s anchor chains in a northerly gale. I know they’re interfering with commerce and that annoys people. And, yes, they might well be better employed protesting in the boardrooms of oil companies whose bosses routinely ignore safety regulations and order their drilling crews to cut corners to save cash. But, whether their actions are legal or not (probably not), surely they have a point. There are some questions that need answers.

1 Has an independent inspector checked that Stena Carron’s blow-out preventer (BoP) would work in an emergency?
2 Is there a back-up BoP in case it doesn’t?
3 Does this drill ship incorporate all the new safety measures agreed by the US offshore oil industry after the Deepwater Horizon disaster?
4 Do Stena and Chevron have a credible contingency plan if something goes wrong while drilling from a ship in the open Atlantic in winter seas?
5 Could they clean up and restore fish spawning and nursery grounds polluted by oil from a seabed blowout?
6 Could they clean up and restore the kelp forests where our crab and lobster boats fish?
7 Do they have adequate insurance cover if a northwesterly gale blew an oil slick from their drilling operations into the fish farms in the West Side?

If the answer to all these questions is “Yes”, then the Greenpeace volunteers should pack up and go home. If not, they will continue to have my sympathy, for what it’s worth.

Jonathan Wills
Independent councillor for Lerwick South
Town Hall,


Add Your Comment
  • Jemil Butt

    • September 24th, 2010 13:02

    Lets not forget, that the blame doesnt rest squarely with the oil companies, but includes all those regulatory bodies and governments that fail to create and effectively manage compliance.

    And then there is us. If you use electricity, heat your home, drive a car, use buses, the underground, a train, ferries, buy food from a supermarket, travel abroad for holidays…. you are no different to anyone else. I dont care if you’re a greenpeace activist/supporter, if you can say yes to any of those, you should keep your mouths shut.

  • Ertie Herculson

    • September 24th, 2010 13:58

    And once again we see Dr Wills’ authoritarian tendencies coming to the fore, by hinting that general discussion fora such as Shetlink should have “editorial control”; no doubt to avoid offending the middle-class socialists of this world like the good doctor with the unvarnished opinions of the average person (or “the ignorant, the daft and the downright nasty”) as he so genially dubs them.

  • Robert Smith

    • September 24th, 2010 20:51

    I’m an environmentalist. I care deeply that the environment is protected from harm.
    Greenpeace, on the other hand, are primarily an extreme left political pressure group.
    They have been highly successful and now command much more political clout than such puny organisations as the UK government.
    Is Dr Wills’ concerns really for the environment or do his sympathies lie with the closet Marxists at the helm of Greenpeace?
    Has he digested the document I handed him that proves tidal energy is a contemptible waste of time?
    If so, why support an organisation that seeks to deny us realistic energy solutions in favour of renewable nonsense?

  • Brian Smith

    • September 25th, 2010 18:37

    I loove it when characters like ‘Ertie’ describe themselves as ‘average’.

  • David Thomson

    • October 23rd, 2010 9:58

    Robert Smith is right. I’m a committed Marxist and only the mighty Greenpeace can sweep me and my comrades to power. Not even those self-seeking backsliders and tree huggers in Friends of the Earth can stop us now.

    On the other hand … come on Robert. Get a Grip!


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