30 protesters join Greenpeace campaign in Timaru to stop New Zealand oil exploration

Thirty protesters have boarded a controversial oil rig's support vessel in Timaru as part of a Greenpeace campaign to stop oil exploration in New Zealand waters. 

The group boarded the Skandi Atlantic early on Sunday morning and intend to stay there overnight. 

The protesters have delayed the Skandi Atlantic's trip north to a remote area off the Taranaki coast, where it will act as a support vessel for OMV's oil rig.

The Austrian company has a 10-year consent to drill 11 offshore wells as part of its exploration and appraisal drilling programme. 

Countless calls, petitions and personal visits to the company have been ignored - but now, protesters are flying the flag for what they call a "climate uprising". They are hoping their actions will do more than stall the oil company, instead stopping them all together.

30 protesters join Greenpeace campaign in Timaru to stop New Zealand oil exploration
Photo credit: Greenpeace

By stopping the supply ship, Greenpeace wants to prevent the rig drilling for oil during a climate emergency. For the protesters, their mission is to prevent the supply vessel from getting to the drill site and supporting that drill rig.

Several of the protesters have climbed the masts, documenting what has been happening throughout the day. Some are even locked to the derrick.

Below, others have set up camp - a sign they are not preparing to abandon the ship anytime soon. 

Police have issued warnings but no one has been trespassed or arrested. Police visited the scene earlier on Sunday but are continuing to monitor the situation from the station.

It is hoped the peaceful protest continues so both sides can reach a resolution.