The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is close to arriving in the port of Murmansk after being boarded by Russian authorities last week following a peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling.
The ship arrived under tow in the fjord near Murmansk around 10:00 local time this morning accompanied by a tug boat and the Russian Coast Guard vessel Ladoga, following Thursday’s boarding by armed security forces.
A number of independent legal experts have now supported Greenpeace International’s position that the boarding was illegal under international law. Separately, over 50 Russian NGOs including WWF Russia have signed a joint statement calling for the activists to be released.
Greenpeace International lawyers are demanding immediate access to the 30 activists who have been held for over four days without legal or consular assistance. It is still not known whether Russia intends to lay formal charges and Greenpeace has not received any formal contact from the authorities.
Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said:
“Greenpeace International has a 40 year history of taking peaceful action to protect the environment, and last week’s protest against dangerous Arctic oil drilling was carried out in line with these strong principles. Our activists did nothing to warrant the reaction we’ve seen from the Russian authorities.
“It’s been four days since our ship was boarded and we have still not been offered a legal basis for the raid, and nor have our activists been allowed any contact with lawyers or consular officials.
“Our activists are motivated only by a passionate belief in the need to protect the Arctic from reckless oil drilling and climate change. We demand their immediate release.”
In August last year Naidoo protested at the same Prirazlomnaya platform as well as appearing alongside Russian scientists to present evidence showing the potential consequences of an oil spill from the structure. The study estimated that over 3,000 miles of Russia’s coastline could be affected
Greenpeace International today highlighted worker footage of the platform showing a large safety ladder being ripped off the side of the platform during a fierce Arctic storm in October 2011