"Arctic Sunrise" has been released after nealry nine months of detention in Murmansk.(Photo: Dmitri Sharomov/Greenpeace)
Greenpeace’s vessel «Arctic Sunrise» has been released after nearly nine months of detention in Murmansk, following the organization’s demonstration against Arctic drilling in the Pechora Sea last fall.
Greenpeace has been informed by its team of lawyers that the Russian Investigative Committee on June 6 decided to release the “Arctic Sunrise”, the organization’s web site reads. The vessel has been left unattended in the port of Murmansk since it was arrested together with its crew in September 2013.
An international crew of specialists and insurance representatives is currently in the Netherlands, waiting for green light to go to Murmansk to get the vessel ready for sailing again. “Our main priority is to get the ship checked by independent surveyors to assess the level of damage,” a Greenpeace spokesperson said to ITAR-TASS, adding it was unlikely Arctic Sunrise could leave Russia in coming days.
Russian authorities has not yet returned essential navigation gear removed from the ship in the course of investigations into the Prirazlomnaya platform protest. The equipment might not be returned before the end of July, ITAR-TASS reports.
Twenty-eight activists and two freelance journalists were arrested by Russian authorities after some of the activists attempted to scale Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform in the Pechora Sea.
They were seized by Russian security guards and their vessel was towed to the port of Murmansk. The protesters - nationals of 18 countries and four Russians - were initially taken into custody on charges of piracy, later downgraded to hooliganism.
After two months in a Russian jail, the activists were released on bail. In December last year, Russia formally dropped criminal charges against the crew, released under a Kremlin-backed amnesty.