Netherlands sues Russia over “Arctic Sunrise” seizure

The Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise" is currently docked in the port of Murmansk, Birth 16.

The lawsuit is lodged for the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea with a request to order the immediate release of the Greenpeace vessel confiscated in Murmansk.


Russian authorities seized “Arctic Sunrise” in September after the Coast Guard arrested the crew after a protest against oil-drilling at the Prirazlomnaya platform in the Pechora Sea and towed the vessel to Murmansk.

“Arctic Sunrise” is a Dutch flagged vessel and it is believed that the Netherlands will argue that Russia has violated the right to freedom of navigation by boarding the vessel in Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone, clearly outside territorial waters. The Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) will hear the case within some few weeks.

In early October, the Netherlands announced it was initiating arbitration proceedings under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea in the hope of prompting a diplomatic solution.

The Dutch government says in a press-release that they are willing to drop the lawsuit if “Arctic Sunrise” and the crew of 28 plus two freelance photographers are released. The crew and the freelancers are currently in pre-trial detention in Murmansk.

They have all been refused bail and charged with piracy that carries a maximum 15 year jail sentence.