Activists from environmentalist group Greenpeace have occupied an abandoned oil tower located near the Ningaloo reef, as they call on energy company Woodside to remove the structure. On May 13 two protestors climbed onto the Nganhurra riser turret mooring, located north of Exmouth, and 19km from the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area, which has remained standing almost five years after it was abandoned when Woodside ceased extracting oil at the site in December 2018. A large banner with the words “Woodside, don’t be a tosser” was placed on the top of the 83m long structure, which Greenpeace said has sunk by 1.5m since December 2022. Greenpeace Australia Pacific CEO David Ritter accused the company of leaving the tower to waste away. “You don’t leave giant pieces of industrial junk in the ocean,” Mr Ritter said. “In a way, it’s just sort of as straightforward as not leaving your litter in the ocean.” According to a 2021 report from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, the concentration of the toxic chemical pentaBDE at the structure posed a risk to the marine ecosystem near the site, and that “risks to human health cannot be ruled out”. “Western Australia’s oceans are vital – to our environment, our climate and to Western Australian industries, such as fishing and tourism,” Mr Ritter said. “Yet Woodside’s operations threaten the health of our oceans and the wildlife and communities that depend upon them.” Woodside has said it reported what it labelled an “interference” by Greenpeace to offshore infrastructure regulator NOPSEMA and enforcement agencies. The company said it plans to remove the RTM between late 2023 and early 2024, subject to approvals, weather conditions and vessel availability, and insisted it was following Australian laws and standards. A NOPSEMA spokesperson said Woodside is currently managing the structure appropriately and will be submitting a plan for the riser turret mooring’s removal later this month. Mr Ritter said he was sceptical Woodside would follow through. “I think there is a question around whether Woodside has shown that they’re trustworthy,” he said. “Woodside were requested to do something about this in 2019. They haven’t.” The action comes from Greenpeace as its sailing ship Rainbow Warrior travels up the WA coast. The boat was in Exmouth on Monday, and visited Shark Bay and the Abrolhos Islands earlier this month to carry out scientific work while the organisation campaigns against fossil fuel projects in WA.