21 Sep 2013

Greenpeace rejects Russian ‘piracy’ claim

Greenpeace rejects suggestions its activists engaged in piracy when boarding an offshore oil drilling platform in the Russian Arctic.

Greenpeace rejects claims activists commited 'piracy' (picture: Greenpeace)

Russia’s coastguard boarded the Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, on Thursday and the boat, with 30 activists on board, is being towed to a Russian port.

The activists, including six Britons, had climbed onto Gazprom’s platform to protest against damage being done to the Arctic.


On Saturday, Greenpeace International‘s General Counsel Jasper Teulings said the excuse for boarding the ship “smacks of desperation”.

“The activists climbed Gazprom’s Arctic oil platform for a completely safe and peaceful protest against dangerous drilling, carrying only banners and rope,” he said.

“Piracy laws do not apply to safe and peaceful protests.”

He said that the Greenpeace was outside Russian territorial waters “where there is right of free passage”.

“This looks like a retrospective attempt to create that justification and avoid embarrassment,” he said. “We will contest these allegations strongly and we continue to demand the release of our activists and the ship.”


However, Russia is sticking by its decision. Russian Presidential Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov told journalists in Stockholm on Saturday that Greenpeace had “acted too radically” and compared its protest to “Somalian-style piracy.”

Greenpeace said it had been unable to contact the activists on the boat. It also claimed that more than 230,000 people have written to Russian embassies and consulates around the world since Thursday evening demanding the release of the activists.