Climate protestors board rig being towed out of the Cromarty Firth
Greenpeace activists climbed on board the 27,000-tonne Transocean rig Paul B Loyd Junior, contracted to BP, on Sunday evening and have called an end to drilling for new oil wells.
Greenpeace said the 27,000-tonne rig was on its way to the Vorlich field to drill new wells.
One of the protestors said: "We are in a climate emergency. This rig is going out to the Vorlich oil field to drill a new hole which will extract 30 million barrels of oil, they hope, when we already cannot afford to burn the oil we've already got in production – it seems a bit foolish, so we've come up here to try to stop the rig going out."
She said they intended to stay on board as long as they can, but conceded they would only be able to delay the rig's journey for a few days.
"But it's sending a message to these companies and it's also raising awareness with other people. We have to send a message to these companies that it's just not acceptable," she said.
BP said it was working with Transocean and the authorities to try to resolve the situation and Police Scotland said it was aware of an ongoing incident but that the situation was currently within the jurisdiction of the Cromarty Firth Port Authority.
A BP spokesman said: "In all operations safety is our top priority. While we recognise the right for peaceful protest, the actions of this group are irresponsible and may put themselves and others unnecessarily at risk.
"We are working with Transocean – the rig’s owner and operator – and the authorities to assess the situation and resolve it peacefully and safely.
"We share the protestors’ concerns about the climate. We support the Paris Agreement. And we are working every day to advance the world’s transition to a low carbon future.
"We’re reducing emissions from our own operations – down 1.7 million tonnes last year – improving our products to help our customers reduce their emissions, and creating new low carbon businesses. We are committed to being part of the solution to the climate challenge facing all of us."