Greenpeace says its activists have stopped a tanker carrying 33,000 tonnes of Russian diesel from docking in the Thames by occupying parts of the jetty.
The 12 protesters travelled overnight by boat, landing at the docking place at Navigator Terminals in Grays, and unfurled a banner reading “fossil fuels war.”
Essex Police said it has arrested eight people on suspicion of aggravated trespass and is working “with our partners to bring a number of others to safety”.
“Policing is not anti-protest, but we must intervene where there is a risk to life or where there is a suspicion laws are being broken,” the police said in a statement.
The 183-metre long Andromeda tanker is carrying fuels from the Russian port of Primorsk, supplied by the LLC KINEF refinery, while travelling under a Greek flag, according to Greenpeace.
The campaigning organisation has been tracking Russian fossil fuel shipments online and in April estimated the UK had imported £220 million of Russian oil since the outbreak of its war on Ukraine.
Since Russia sent troops and tanks into Ukraine, the UK has banned the arrival of Russian-flagged and owned vessels, and pledged to end Russian oil imports by 2023.
Oil majors to reap £11.6bn unexpected wartime profits on UK fossil fuels, Greenpeace projects
Climate protesters Just Stop Oil damage petrol pumps at motorway service stations – more than 20 arrested
UK has imported £220 million of Russian oil since Ukraine war outbreak, analysis suggests
In the meantime Russian fossil fuels can still arrive on ships registered to other countries. The UK currently sources about 18% of its diesel from Russia. Greenpeace wants the government to bring the ban forward.
Georgia Whitaker, oil and gas campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said the UK’s “attachment” to fossil fuels has “backfired in the worst way possible”.
“We’re funding a war, our energy bills and fuel costs are sky-high, and we’re driving the climate crisis,” she said.
Sky News has contacted the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial strategy with a request to comment.
It comes as the average price of diesel today hit a new record high, according to the AA. Both Labour and the Conservatives have recently condemned activists from Just Stop Oil – an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion – for disrupting fuel supplies at a time of spiralling living costs.
Campaigners say the government’s energy policies – moving too slowly on home insulation and renewables – are to blame for high fuel bills.
Watch the Daily Climate Show at 8.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.
The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis