Seven Activists Fined for Boarding Valaris Jackup Rig in Scotland

extinction rebellion
Activists climb one of the jack-up legs of Valaris JU-122, January 2020 (XR Scotland)

Published Dec 13, 2021 9:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

Seven activists with climate action group Extinction Rebellion have been fined in connection with a protest aboard an offshore rig at Dundee, Scotland in January 2020. 

The protest occurred aboard the Valaris-owned jackup Valaris JU-122 (Ensco 122), which was preparing to depart the River Tay on a drilling campaign for Shell. XR's objective was to prevent the rig from leaving port, and the group planned for the operation to last up to 10 days.

Seven activists approached the rig in a small rubber inflatable and attempted to board it. However, Scotland's early January weather conditions did not align with their plans: the three individuals who managed to board the rig had to disembark within five hours due to high winds. 

Local police, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and other agencies incurred a total expense of about $40,000 for the response to the boarding.

After the action ended, police arrested all seven individuals in connection with the boarding. The activists were identified in court documents as Federico Pastoris, 25, Mark Quinn, 23, Marco Tenconi, 24, Guy Bowen, 32, Alison Orr, 28, Joanne Venables, 36, and Fiona Cormie, 27. (Cormie, Venables and Orr were the only three who accessed the rig and climbed up its jack-up legs, according to the local sheriffs' deputy.)

In March 2021, all seven pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in connection with the direct action. On Monday, a judge sentenced them to a fine of $200 each and an additional donation of $330 each to the RNLI.

“I have no opposition whatsoever to the message you all tried to send, merely the way in which you tried to send it, causing the coastguard, police and lifeboat services considerable concern, expense and effort to ensure your own safety," said Sheriff Grant McCulloch, according to The Courier. “I believe it’s appropriate that a contribution is made by each and every one of you to the RNLI.”