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Pressure Turned Up On Britain, Firebombs Thrown At Shell Station

June 16, 1995

BONN, Germany (AP) _ Britain came under intensified pressure from Germany and other European nations today to halt plans to sink an obsolescent Shell oil platform into the sea, and militants firebombed a Shell station in Hamburg.

Concern is mounting in western Europe that fish stocks will be threatened if oil companies make a habit of sinking outdated North Sea oil platforms.

Greenpeace activists posted themselves at Shell stations in several Swiss cities, handing out leaflets denouncing plans to sink the Brent Spar platform off Scotland.

Danish Environment Minister Svend Auken called Shell’s plans ``abominable″ and urged his countrymen to join other Europeans in boycotting the company.

Royal Dutch-Shell Group says no environmental harm will come from sinking the Brent Spar. But the environmental group Greenpeace claims the platform will pollute the sea with 130 tons of waste.

German Agriculture Minister Jochen Borchert sent a letter to British colleagues urging them to press Prime Minister John Major to reconsider his decision.

``As minister responsible for fisheries, I fear a threat for fish stocks which are food and business foundations for many Europeans,″ Borchert said in the letter.

A day earlier, Chancellor Helmut Kohl asked Major to find another way to dispose of the oil platform. But the British prime minister has so far held firm, and the platform is being towed to its sea burial place.

There are about 400 offshore oil platforms in the North Sea, and dumping the Brent Spar ``could create a very dangerous precedent,″ Auken told the Danish newspaper B.T.

Meanwhile, a Shell gas station in Hamburg was gutted by fire before dawn today when several firebombs were hurled through windows. Slogans denouncing Shell were spray-painted on the walls. No one was hurt.

A grassroots boycott of Shell began in Germany this week, and has spread to the Netherlands, Britain and Switzerland.

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