Greenpeace activists have made another attempt to board a drilling rig being towed in the North Sea.
The rig was heading for an oil field east of Aberdeen after protesters delayed its departure from the Cromarty Firth for six days last week.
Greenpeace said a fresh attempt to get on board was thwarted, but its protest ship Arctic Sunrise had now forced the rig to change course.
BP accused the group of putting people at risk through its “reckless” actions.
Fourteen people – including three photographers – have been arrested since Greenpeace activists first boarded the Transocean rig in the Cromarty Firth a week ago.
The structure was able to resume its journey to BP’s Vorlich field, east of Aberdeen, on Friday night, following two police operations to remove the protesters.
But Greenpeace vowed to continue efforts to halt its progress, and sent Arctic Sunrise in pursuit.
The group said it made a failed attempt to get activists back on board early on Sunday but later managed to overtake the rig which then made a “U-turn”, heading back on its original track towards the Cromarty Firth.
Commenting on the latest developments, Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven made reference to an appeal by Pope Francis for the oil industry to recognise the threat posed by climate change.
He said: “Pope Francis is absolutely right about the climate emergency. We must take action to save future generations from a ‘brutal injustice’. And we are.
“BP told the Pope on Friday that they want to find the answer to the climate problem. Wherever that answer may lie it’s certainly not in drilling new wells to access 30 million barrels of oil at the bottom of the North Sea.
“This is why BP will face opposition wherever they plan to drill for more oil, from the North Sea to the Arctic and from the mouth of the Amazon to the Gulf of Mexico.
“We have tried letters, meetings, petitions – none of that worked. Now we’re going to stand in BP’s way to prevent further harm to people at the sharp end of the climate crisis.”
‘Wilfully’ breaking the law
BP has said it shared the group’s concerns about climate change, but condemned its actions.
A spokesperson said: “Reckless attempts by Greenpeace protestors to interfere with the rig while under transport risk the safety not only of those individuals but anyone responding.
“There is also a clear and blatant breach of criminal law and the court orders in place against both Greenpeace and their vessel. Greenpeace is choosing to wilfully break the law.”