Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise welcomed home by Arctic 30



Amsterdam, 9 August 2014 - The Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise
today sailed back into Dutch territorial waters after over 300 days in Russian
custody. The ship had been held illegally since taking part in a peaceful
direct action against state owned oil company Gazprom, as it tried to drill the
world’s first oil well in icy Arctic waters.

Several members of the so called ‘Arctic 30’ were there to greet the ship,
including Phil Ball from Oxfordshire in the UK, and boarded the vessel in
Beverwijk, near Amsterdam.

“This is a joyous day for me, for my friends and for the millions of people
around the world who campaigned for the release of the Arctic 30 and the Arctic
Sunrise”, says Dutch climate and energy campaigner Faiza Oulahsen, who spent
two months in Russian prison last year on piracy and then hooliganism charges
following the protest.

“The companies and governments who seek to exploit this vulnerable region
for profit have tried to silence the growing call to protect the Arctic for
future generations. But they have not succeeded. And they will not. The Arctic
Sunrise will sail again. By now more than 5 million people worldwide have
spoken out for Arctic protection.”

Oulahsen went on to thank the broad sweep of civil society organizations and
individuals who spoke out on behalf of the activists including 11 Nobel peace
prize winners, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and a host of senior political figures
from across the world.

“We are both incredibly grateful for the huge level of support we received,
and conscious that many others have not been so lucky. I would like to use this
opportunity to support the many other peaceful environmental activists who
remain oppressed or imprisoned for their beliefs, both in Russia and around the
world.”

The activists saw the ship for the first time since it was seized by Russian
security agents on September 19th 2013. The ship will now sail to the harbour
of Amsterdam, accompanied by a fleet of Greenpeace supporters in small vessels.

In Amsterdam the Arctic Sunrise will host a humble, but festive homecoming
ceremony. On board the ship is a samovar, a traditional Russian tea-pot. The
tea-pot, engraved with the words ‘MY Arctic Sunrise - From Russia with love’,
will stay on board, as an ongoing symbol of support and care from the Russian
Arctic defenders. Once the Arctic Sunrise arrives in Amsterdam, members of the
Arctic 30 will drink the ceremonial first cups of tea from the samovar.

In a few days the ship will be moved to a shipyard in Amsterdam for much
needed repairs. Even though captain Daniel Rizzotti and his crew have worked
hard for several weeks in Murmansk to make the Arctic Sunrise seaworthy again,
a lot of work still needs to be done. Within two weeks Greenpeace expects to
have a thorough idea of the extent of the damages.

ENDS

For more information please contact:

Ilse van der Poel, in Amsterdam: ilse.van.der.poel@greenpeace.org, +31 (0)6 250 310 12

 

For photos please contact Gerda Horneman, gerda.horneman@greenpeace.org,
+31 (0)6 2412 8744

- Photos of the departure of the Arctic Sunrise and the Russian samovar can be found here.

- Photos of life on board of the Arctic Sunrise during the transit from
Murmansk to Amsterdam can be found here.

For video please contact Carin Bazuin, carin.bazuin@greenpeace.org,
+31 (0)6 5350 4707

NOTES

Background:

The Arctic Sunrise was used as a support vessel during a protest at Gazprom's
Prirazlomnaya platform on September 18th 2013. Two climbers attempted to hang a
small "Save The Arctic" banner on the platform's side before Russian
commandos fired warning shots into the water beneath them and forced them to
descend their ropes. The next day, the Arctic Sunrise was boarded and towed to
Murmansk. All 28 activists along with two freelance journalists were arrested
and charged with piracy and then hooliganism. The Arctic 30 were released in
November 2013, and the 26 non-Russians left the country on or around December
27th 2013, following the adoption of an amnesty law in the Russian Duma. On
July 18th 2014, Greenpeace International was
informed that Russia’s Investigative Committee would further extend its
investigation into the Arctic 30 case until September 24th 2014, despite a
criminal case against the 30 being dropped last December.

On November 22nd, 2013, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea
ordered Russia to 'immediately' release the vessel upon the posting of a €3.6
million bond by the Netherlands. The bond was posted by December 2nd 2013.

In March, the Arctic 30 submitted their cases to the European Court of Human
Rights. The 30 individuals are requesting "just
compensation" from the Russian Federation, and importantly, a statement
from the independent Court saying that their apprehension in international
waters by Russian agents and subsequent detention were unlawful.

The European Court has the power to hold
Russia to account for the months of uncertainty the Arctic 30 faced in
Russia. While held in detention centres they lived with the fear that they
could spend years locked up for a crime they did not commit. The European Court
has jurisdiction over matters involving alleged human rights violations
committed by Russia’s government. In many cases Russia’s government has been
found liable for such violations and ordered to compensate victims. Ultimately,
this case aims to ensure Russia lives up to its human rights commitments.

Legal Analysis: Seeking Justice for the Arctic 30 http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/seeking-justice-for-the-arctic-30/blog/48541/

For a full timeline of the Arctic 30 story please see: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/arctic-timeline/


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