Dozens of protesters have stormed an oil vessel in Timaru, hoping to stop its owner "drilling for new oil in the middle of a climate emergency".
Greenpeace says the Bahamas-flagged Skandi Atlantic was preparing to leave the Port of Timaru and travel north to Taranaki, where a 34,000-tonne oil rig commissioned by OMV is set to "undertake the riskiest kind of oil drilling, at extreme depths".
"By occupying OMV's henchboat, we're delaying the monster rig from drilling for new oil in the middle of a climate emergency," said Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson.
She said the rig's location - 50 nautical miles off the coast of Taranaki - "means it’s nearly impossible for ordinary New Zealanders to take peaceful action to confront it directly".
"We've brought the resistance here to disrupt its chain of support. We won't let this rig carry out its climate-destroying activities quietly, out of sight and mind."
Accompanying Greenpeace are members of Extinction Rebellion, Oil Free Otago, and 350 Aotearoa.
Larsson says they have no plans to leave in a hurry:
"They've set up tents on the deck, they've set up some banners. They're ready to get comfy and stay here for a while."
Police are at the scene, telling Newshub they're there to uphold the law and ensure safety, while recognising the legal right for protest.
"Police will respond appropriately to any issues that arise," a spokesperson said.
The Government has banned future oil exploration in much of the country, with some exceptions in Taranaki. Existing permits will also be allowed to be carried out.
OMV was named in a recent report as one of the world's top 100 carbo-emitting companies, responsible for 70 percent of the world's emissions between them.
OMV is about to begin drilling three oil wells in Taranaki, and another off the Otago coast.