Greenpeace Arctic oil protesters charged with piracy

Greenpeace vessel "Arctic Sunrise" at anchor outside Murmansk. Russian Coast Guard vessel look after.

Investigators from Moscow arrive in Murmansk to question all those involved in last week’s protest and detain the most active among them.


“Arctic Sunrise” arrived north of Murmansk Tuesday after being towed by a Coast Guard vessel the last few days from the waters near Russia only soon-to-drill rig Prirazlomnaya in the Pechora Sea.

A source in the FSB’s Border Guard Service says to Murmansk based news agency B-port that representatives from different Consulates will come to Murmansk to meet with their respective citizens that sails with the Greenpeace vessel. For the time being, “Arctic Sunrise” is at anchor in the Kulonga Bay between Severomorsk and Murmansk.

There are some 30 activists onboard “Arctic Sunrise” from many different countries.

A criminal case is opened and the charge is piracy. “All prepetrators of the attck on the platform would be held liable, regardless of their nationality,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin says in a statement posted the committee’s web portal.

Piracy carries a up to 15-year prison sentence in Russia.

On September 18, the Greenpeace vessel took action at Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya platform to stop it from producing the world’s first oil from ice Arctic waters. A Coast Guard vessel from Murmansk fired warning shots and detained two of the activists, one from Finland and one from Switzerland. 

“Our activists are fully trained to conduct this kind of protest peacefully and safely. They did nothing to endanger the platform or Gazprom’s workers and they carried nothing more than banners and ropes. A similar protest at the same rig passed off without incident in 2012,” Greenpeace says in a statement posted on the organizations portal.