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Greenpeace: Environmentalists’ ship Arctic Sunrise seized

19 September 2013 

Source: (info)
According to media reports, a confrontation between the FSB and environmental activists from Greenpeace who had come to the Arctic to protest aboard the Arctic Sunrise resulted in the vessel being seized by the Russian authorities (or Gazprom commandos).

The entire crew of the vessel, including activists who had come to the northern waters to protest at the rigs against oil drilling, has been captured and is being held on a helipad, and communications with the Arctic Sunrise have been entirely lost, reports Greenpeace

According to Greenpeace, FSB personnel had attempted to stop the Arctic Sunrise vessel, warning that they would open fire from the coastguard ship Ladoga, reports ITAR-TASS.

"People armed with automatic weapons have just descended on ropes from a helicopter aboard the Arctic Sunrise," eco-activists were quoted as saying by Interfax.

"Crew are sitting on their knees on the helipad with guns pointed at them... This is pretty terrifying. Loud banging. Screaming in Russian. They're still trying to kick in the door” Thus Greenpeace, quoting their activists, described events on board the vessel on Twitter.

Greenpeace alleges that the ship was in international waters at the time it was boarded by members of the Russian security services, which, according to environmentalists, makes the actions by the Russian side illegal, reports the BBC.

What took place alongside yesterday's shooting by border guards has not demotivated the environmental activists. "The FSB continues to illegally hold two Greenpeace activists who were detained yesterday during the action on the Prirazlomnaya Rig, reports Newsru.

Greenpeace believes that the real threat to Russia's interests is not peaceful environmental protest but "the insane Arctic projects of Gazprom and other oil corporations".

Greenpeace continues to demand the release of the activists illegally detained and held by force.

In Moscow, one of the Greenpeace activists has begun a permanent one-person picket beside the Gazprom company’s headquarters to demand the release of his companions detained in the Pechora Sea, reports Radio Svoboda.