Climate activist group Greenpeace has halted its protest action at a Shell North Sea field, leaving a graffiti slogan on the Brent Bravo platform.
The Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior vessel has moved out of the Brent field with the group citing “safety concerns” due to bad weather.
But it revealed it had painted “toxic waste” in large letters on the Brent Bravo platform and vowed to “keep and eye” on Shell.
Activists from the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark boarded two oil platforms in the North Sea field yesterday morning.
The protest action lasted 24 hours.
It comes ahead of a special meeting of Ospar, an agreement between 15 governments to protect Europe’s marine environment, which takes place in London on Friday.
Some countries have lodged objections to Shell’s plans to leave the legs of three of the Brent platforms – Bravo, Charlie and Delta – in the sea, with concerns around the contents of concrete oil storage cells within them deteriorating.
Shell insists its plans are both safe and “environmentally sound”, with any release of the cells’ contents happening gradually over centuries.
A Shell spokesman said: ““All protestors have safely left the Brent Alpha platform and Brent Bravo’s leg structures.
“Shell looks forward to continuing discussions with partners and other organisations about its plans for decommissioning structures in the Brent field, as part of a regulatory process managed by governments.
“After a decade of in-depth research scrutinised by independent scientists, and extensive consultation with experts and NGOs, we are confident that our plans are safe, environmentally sound, technically achievable, and socially responsible.”
The activist group said it was now up to the Ospar Convention to “make sure Shell will not be allowed to leave their toxic waste behind in the North Sea”.
Industry body Oil and Gas UK yesterday described it as “disappointing” that Greenpeace had resorted to these measures.
A Greenpeace campaigner, Christian Bissau, said the protest action had ensured “Shell’s refusal to clean up its own mess won’t go unnoticed”.
He added: “This is a company that prides itself on being able to extract fossil fuels miles deep into the Earth’s crust, and yet they say it’s too hard to extract oil sludge from a few feet of concrete in their own rigs.
“This multi-billion-pound oil giant is just trying to skimp and save at the expense of our marine environment.”