Greenpeace activists have vowed to continue their occupation of a BP-contracted oil rig in the Cromarty Firth.
The two protesters boarded the Paul B Loyd Jr on Sunday evening as it attempted to leave under two, unfurling a banner reading “Climate Emergency” on the structure.
They spent a sleepless night perched on a gantry on one of the 27,000-tonne platform’s legs in an effort to prevent it being put back into operation.
The rig – owned by Transocean and operated by BP – was making its way to the Vorlich field in the North Sea.
BP has estimated the drilling of new wells there could give them access to 30 million barrels of oil.
Jo, the only name given by one of the Scottish Greenpeace activists currently aboard the rig, said: “This is easily the worst place I’ve ever slept in, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
“For as long as we are here, this rig isn’t going anywhere.
“BP says they care about climate change, yet they’re pumping billions into the search for new oil while lobbying against tougher action on climate change.
“They know full well they’re fueling a climate emergency that threatens the lives of millions. That can’t continue.”
Greenpeace is demanding that BP immediately end drilling new wells and switch to investing only in renewable energy.
Raising concerns about the situation, Oil and Gas UK chief executive, Deirdre Michie, said: “While everyone has the right to peaceful protest it cannot be done at the expense of their personal safety or of those around them, in this case the workers on the rig.
“Our industry is heavily regulated for a reason and whilst it has a good reputation for safety it is because of the robust training, processes and culture in place.
“Understanding how we can continue to provide more energy with fewer emissions is a global challenge which needs serious thinking.
“Our industry has the people, capabilities and infrastructure to help deliver a managed transition towards a more diverse energy mix.
“We are listening to concerns and would urge organisations including Greenpeace to work with us to find the innovative solutions required.”