Greenpeace took to the streets of London on Monday with a parade of giant tropical sea creatures to protest over BP’s plans to drill for oil near the Amazon coral reef off Brazil.

The environmental group claims the British supermajor “missed entirely” the 5000 square-kilometre reef - about three times the size of London - in its environmental impact assessment of the area in the Amazon River mouth basin.

Both BP and Total are looking to carrying out exploration drilling in their shared blocks only about nine kilometres away from the reef.

The inflatable sea creatures - including 12 four-metre long tropical fish and jellyfish - were carried by 30 Greenpeace volunteers in the eye-catching aquatic march down the Mall, around Trafalgar Square and then across Piccadilly to St James’ Square where BP’s headquarters is located.

Activists then delivered a petition with over 1 million signatures demanding that BP does not drill near the reef, along with a map to show the company where the reef is after it was filmed and photographed for the first time ever in a Greenpeace expedition earlier this year.

Campaigner Sara Ayech said “we’re not about to let BP destroy a natural wonder before it’s even been explored”.

“However hard they try – and they seem to be trying quite hard – we’re not going to let BP ignore the reef,” she added.

The group said “many marine scientists have expressed their dismay at the risk of an oil spill devastating the reef before it has even been studied”.

BP’s oil spill response plan includes using the chemical dispersant Corexit, which is toxic to coral, and relies on remote operated vehicles that may not be able to function in these waters, according to Greenpeace.

Upstream reported earlier this month that Total has run into environmental permitting problems with its planned nine-well drilling effort in the Foz do Amazonas basin where it operates five blocks and is partnered by BP and state-owned Petrobras.

The French major has lined up Ensco’s drillship DS-9 to drill two firm wells in the northern equatorial margin play where subsea currents from the Amazon River and high- temperature, high-pressure drilling conditions are among the challenges.

The wells are in water depths of 1900 metres and 2700 metres respectively and it is understood there are charter options for an additional two wells.