Greenpeace: Piracy Charge Against Arctic Activists "An Assault on Peaceful Protest"
Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Russian state prosecutor laid charges of piracy against a Greenpeace activist who protested against oil drilling in the Arctic. A freelance videographer has also been charged with piracy, which carries a maximum 15 year jail sentence. It is an extreme and disproportionate charge. Charges are expected to be brought against other Greenpeace campaigners over the coming hours and days.

Responding to the news, Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said:

“A charge of piracy is being laid against men and women whose only crime is to be possessed of a conscience. This is an outrage and represents nothing less than an assault on the very principle of peaceful protest. Any claim that these activists are pirates is as absurd as it is abominable. It is utterly irrational, it is designed to intimidate and silence us, but we will not be cowed.

“This is now the most serious threat to Greenpeace’s peaceful environmental activism since agents of the French secret service bombed the Rainbow Warrior and killed our colleague Fernando Pereira because we stood against French nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific. Three decades later the activists of the Arctic Sunrise also took a stand, this time against the powerful vested interests of the oil industry, and they could now face the prospect of long periods in a Russian jail. I call on people from across the world, anybody who ever raised their voice in support of something they believe in, and especially the good people of Russia, to come to their aid at this moment and join us in demanding the release of the Arctic 30.

“The courageous crew of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise protested at that Gazprom rig because they felt compelled to bear witness to the slow but unrelenting destruction of the Arctic. The ice is retreating, oil companies are moving north to drill for the fuels that are driving that melting, species are at risk, including our own. Thirty men and women, some young, others not-so-young, all with a moral compass, actually did something about it. Just as in years past, the resolve and courage required to win a better future for our children requires personal sacrifice, a sacrifice the Arctic 30 are now making. They made their stand in the interests of us all. Now we must come together and stand with them.”

The charge has so far been laid against crew member Ana Paula Alminhana from Brazil, and freelance videographer Kieron Bryan from the UK.

The 28 activists, a freelance photographer and the freelance videographer, were involved in a protest against the Gazprom Arctic drilling platform Prirazlomnaya on September 18th. Two activists tried to climb the side of the platform and hang a banner. Today Greenpeace is releasing photographs of the moment Russian security services abseiled from a helicopter onto the deck of the Arctic Sunrise and seized the ship at gunpoint. The photographs clearly show peaceful activists posing no threat to the Russian authorities.

“I ask people to look at those photographs and decide if the peaceful campaigners with their arms raised, with guns pointed at their chests, could ever be described as pirates,” said Kumi Naidoo.

Last week President Putin himself scoffed at the notion that the Greenpeace protesters were pirates. He said that "It is absolutely evident that they are, of course, not pirates."

The number of people worldwide who have written to Russian embassies demanding the release of the activists and freelancers today passed one million. Others calling for the release of the Arctic 30 include Nobel peace prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the actor Ewan McGregor.

The Captain of the Arctic Sunrise, Peter Willcox - now in a Russian jail - was the Captain of the Rainbow Warrior when it was bombed in 1985.

Maritime Reporter September 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds


AWO Calls on Congress for Vessel Discharges Bill

A federal appeals court ruling handed down this week underscores the urgent need for Congress to pass the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) and establish a

House Passes Bill to Repeal US Oil Export Ban, Veto Looms

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday to overturn the 40-year-old ban on oil exports, but the measure did not get enough support to overturn any veto by President Barack Obama,

US Senators Introduce Bill to Limit Offshore Drilling

A group of U.S. Senators on the West Coast have introduced a bill Wednesday aiming to prohibit offshore drilling on the outer continental shelf of California, Oregon and Washington.


US Shipowner Creates Fund for Families of Missing El Faro Crew

The owners of the cargo ship El Faro that sank after it was trapped in the path of Hurricane Joaquin off the Bahamas last week announced the creation of a family

Coast Guard Foundation Raises $250,000 for Scholarships

The Coast Guard Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to the education and welfare of all Coast Guard members and their families, announced today that

Newport News Shipbuilding Converts to Natural Gas

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) announced today that its Newport News Shipbuilding division has converted its steam-generation plant from heavy fuel oil, also known as Bunker C,

Arctic Operations

Wärtsilä 31 Engine for Aker ARC 124 Icebreaker

The recently introduced Wärtsilä 31 engine, which has been acknowledged by Guinness World Records as being the world's most efficient four-stroke diesel engine,

Eni Arctic Service Rig Extension Okayed

Italian oil company Eni has received permission from Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority to extend the use of a service rig on its troubled Arctic Goliat oil field offshore Norway until Nov.

Northern Fleet to Conduct Anti-terrorist Exercises

The sailors of the Northern Fleet will conduct anti-terrorism exercises at Novaya Zemlya. During the exercise, the coast will be a landing. The landing will

Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Navigation Pod Propulsion Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1782 sec (6 req/sec)