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Ibiza oil rig update - Rainbow Warrior sails into the Port of Ibiza

On Wednesday this week, mighty Greenpeace ship 'The Rainbow Warrior' sailed majestically into the port of Ibiza. We went to meet them and here's what they said.

It's been a while since we brought you any news regarding the planned Ibiza oil rig so we thought it was high time for an update. It's a fairly (but necessarily) long read ladies and gents, so get yourselves a cup of tea, get comfy and here goes...

The arrival

The arrival of The Rainbow Warrior by Jane C

On Wednesday this week, ‘The Rainbow Warrior,' Greenpeace's state-of-the-art flagship vessel sailed magnificently into the port of Ibiza, accompanied by a flotilla of over 27 boats to a rapturous welcome from the islanders. Indeed many residents, young and old turned up with their families and friends to welcome them to Ibiza.

The arrival of The Rainbow Warrior by Jane C

On the other hand, after Alianza Mar Blava's amazingly successful campaign back in February to halt the imminent start of the first stage of Cairn Energy's project, the acoustic surveys, a lot of people were wondering why Greenpeace were here at all.

The story so far

After successfully collecting over 33,000 signed petitions against the oil rig, which flooded into the island from horrified Ibiza lovers all over the world, many thought that the whole oil rig plan had been thwarted. See previous article here.

Unfortunately not it seems. Although the petitions did succeed in slowing down the project (for now) it turns out that Cairn Energy commissioned its own report from consultancy firm Deloitte.

PHOTO | Thanks to Ibiza Light and Magic for the image.

A tale of two studies

Whilst Alianza Mar Blava's petition called to attention many failings and inadequacies of Cairn Energy's much criticised environmental impact study, Cairn's rival report predicted that their project would bring enormous benefits to Spain.

The alleged benefits of the oil project

These benefits, they claimed, would include increased employment and access to a domestic energy source, much needed by Spain who are currently heavily reliant on imports.

It is the battle of two conflicting documents. One representing the concerns of the islanders and its fans, the other listing the alleged benefits to Spain in general. And that's where Greenpeace come in.

The arrival of The Rainbow Warrior by Jane C

Whilst the Spanish government are inclined to cite Cairn's report to the populace at large in order to justify the dangerous search for fossil fuels in the beautiful Balearic sea, Greenpeace denounce Cairn's projected benefits to both Spain and Ibiza as ‘pure lies'.

The response by Greenpeace

The arrival of The Rainbow Warrior by Jane C

Spotlight dutifully attended the Greenpeace/Alianza Mar Blava press conference this morning aboard the Rainbow Warrior and listened to what they had to say. Below is a summary of the main points.

1) They pointed out that any employment generated by the oil project could quite easily be (and often is) contracted to foreign workers for considerably lower wages.

2) They furthermore argued that any fossil fuels extracted from the seabed by Cairn, would remain the property of Cairn and far from representing a domestic, independant energy source, could be exported and sold to the highest bidder. The profits would belong to Cairn, not Spain.

3) They went on to assert that there are no guarantees whatsoever that anywhere near the optimistically projected amount of fossil fuels would be found.

What seems certain is that all the risks are to the locals (both tourism and fishing gravely threatened), whilst the lion's share of any benefits would go to Scottish oil giant Cairn. See previous article here for a detailed explanation of the oil project's potentially disastrous consequences for Ibiza and Formentera.

So what now, we demanded? Is the island still in danger? The answer, regrettably, was yes.

Greenpeace oil rig protest at Es Vedra, Ibiza by Greenpeace

PHOTO | Thanks to Greenpèace for the image

The official government line

Despite currently being under the scrutiny of the European Commission who have CO2 emission reduction targets to comply with, the Spanish government are still not agreeing to stop the oil project. The Greenpeace campaign's coordinator, Julio Barea, commented:

"The demands of both the entire civil society and all the official institutions of the Balearic Islands who are opposed to the oil project is a clear message to the Spanish Government who continue to defend the private interests of oil companies above those of the general populace."

Spokesperson for Alianza Mar Blava, Angeles Marí added:

"These oil explorations can be avoided. The central government has at its disposal sufficient judicial tools and environmental arguments to have paralysed them [the oil companies] since the first phase, but instead prefer to argue for the compensation rights of the promoters."

The bigger picture

Greenpeace, having extensive experience of helping communities fight off invasions from profit-hungry oil companies, insist there is only one viable solution: a global switch to renewable energies. In fact, Greenpeace is not just physically here on the island with their mighty ship to spread this message, they're also sat outside Cairn's head office in Edinburgh, right now.

Greenpeace protesting at Cairn Energy head office, Edinburgh by Greenpeace

PHOTO | Thanks to Greenpeace for the image

Imogen Michel, Greenpeace UK's campaign coordinator went on to explain:

Cairn Energy has tried to search for oil in the Arctic Sea and Greenpeace has successfully opposed their plans, despite the company's threats and intimidation. Now, they [Cairn] want to transfer their operations to the Mediterranean. It's for this reason we are here today at Cairn's headquarters in Edinburgh, whilst Greenpeace flagship vessel ‘The Rainbow Warrior' is in Ibiza to support the Balearic Islands in their opposition to the oil company's plans.”

Ibiza says NO! by Greenpeace

PHOTO | Thanks to Greenpeace for the image

The solution

In a coordinated campaign, Alianza Mar Blava and Greenpeace are urging communities everywhere to unite and demand a clean and renewable future for everyone.

In their study, Energia 3.0, Greenpeace show that by 2050, a future scenario of a global energy model without fossil fuels, using 100% renewable sources of energy is both technically possible and economically feasible.

Greenpeace see the world on the cusp of an energy revolution, compelled by the pressures of climate change. Even the extremely moderate United Nations say that burning fossil fuels is the principal cause of global climate change. This, they insist, has to stop. For the future of everyone.

Such changes do not happen overnight, but Ibiza is in a particularly good position to start.

The Rainbow Warrior flotilla

The future

With ample sun, tidal and wind power at the island's disposal, along with a passionate population who are prepared to reduce their reliance on oil if it means saving their beautiful island, Ibiza nows seems to be at the forefront of a global move towards renewable energy.

What's more, Ibiza has an enviable little black book, counting some of the world's most famous celebrities, A-listers and influential movers and shakers as its personal friends and fans. They clearly do not wish to see it become sullied with the ravages of industrial oil exploration in its crystal clear, ancient waters either. The island is in a unique position to become a shining example of a clean, healthy and renewable future.

What you can do to help make that happen

Share this article on the social networks. Let people know what is happening here. Use the hashtag #ProspeccionesNO

Sign the Greenpeace petition against oil exploration in the Mediterranean (in Spanish - just use Google Translate which works well in this case. Just put your passport number where it asks for 'DNI' and leave the phone number blank.)

Join the campaign against drilling for oil in the Arctic Sea - whatever follows there will irrevocably determine the future of the planet.

Respect the island when you visit. Put your rubbish in the recycling bins. Don't leave litter.

Money talks. Look out for businesses that are cutting their reliance on oil by using local, hand-made and recycled products and give them your custom. Have a look at Greenheart Ibiza's handy Green Guide to get a good idea where to go.

Don't take those plastic bags from the supermarket. Take a reusable one or use boxes if you have a car.

Don't buy countless 1.5 litre bottles of water. Cut your plastic consumption by buying 5 litre bottles and refill your small bottle each day.

Cut down on use of your private vehicle. Use public transport, walk, or cycle. Stop and smell the flowers!

VIDEO | Text at the end says: "Together we can stop the oil prospections in the Barlearic Islands"

A final word

Alianza Mar Blava will be organising all kinds of events over the summer and beyond to keep up the pressure. We shall continue to give periodic updates of the latest developments in this important story.

In the meantime, Ibiza Spotlight would like to say a huge thank you, both to Greenpeace and to you for the support that continues to flood in. A big thank you also goes out to the owners and crew of beautiful Ibiza sailing ship 'Cala Millor, 1942' (featured in many of the photos) who very kindly took the local press and Alianza Mar Blava members out to meet the Rainbow Warrior.

Like pretty much everyone, we do not want the stunning natural beauty of Ibiza, enjoyed by millions of adoring visitors each year, to be threatened. We are proud to continue to support the efforts of Alianza Mar Blava to ensure this does not happen.

WORDS | Jane Charilou PHOTOGRAPHY | Unless otherwise stated, all images by Jane C

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