Greenpeace activists jailed while vessel caught dumping oil in Baltic sails free

Press release - 8 June, 2002

While nine Greenpeace activists face serious charges and two have been imprisoned indefinately, this morning Greenpeace continued its fifth day of peaceful

protest to protect the Baltic Sea from oil dumping.

Using inflatables, activists escorted the ‘MV Fagervik´, the vessel responsible for dumping a large quantity of oil into the Baltic in February 2001, into the port of

Västerås, Sweden. The non-violent direct action started on Tuesday morning when 15 Greenpeace activists surrounded ‘Fagervik´, and detained it in the port,

demanding that the vessel be immediately taken out of operation in the Baltic Sea.

“When the owners of the ‘Fagervik´ dumped oil into the Baltic they were detained for a very short time ADD and have not yet been found liable for the environmental damage they

caused. But Greenpeace activists, who were peacefully protesting to save the Baltic from oil pollution, have been detained and are facing severe charges,” said Greenpeace campaigner

Stuart Thomson.

The two activists that have been detained, a 50-year old female doctor from UK/Australia and a 27-year old student from Flensburg, Germany, were held in

custody for four days before appearing in court. They have been denied bail and have been detained in a maximum security prison. It is still uncertain whether or not

they will be released before they go to trial. Six other activists from Germany, Australia, Sweden and Finland, who were also arrested over the past four days, are

facing the same charges. Another Swedish activist has been accused of sabotage.

“If only the Swedish authorities put as much effort and resources into dealing with the real criminals, people who knowingly damage the Baltic Sea by dumping oil

into it, instead of trying to stifle peaceful protest, perhaps we´d see an end to the problem of oil pollution in the Baltic. It´s clear oil will continue to be dumped until

the authorities hold ship owners and the industry liable for their actions,” added Thomson.

1000-2000 oil spills occur in the Baltic every year. As the rate of water exchange in the Baltic is slow, this has resulted in the Baltic Sea having three times as much

fossil hydrocarbons as the North Sea. Oil releases in the Baltic have serious consequences for birds and marine life as well as sea floors. The International Maritime

Organisation (IMO) has classified the Baltic Sea as a ‘Special Area´ reflecting its vulnerability to oil pollution.

To protect the Baltic Sea from oil dumping Greenpeace demands:

Baltic drivers license

Corporate liability: ship owners and the industry as a whole must be given the full financial liability for the effects of oil discharges, whether or not intent

can be proven.

Action from the shipping operators: all companies that work with shipping Gbeen guilty of discharging oil or those that do not fulfil very high standards of security, competence and education.

Notes: Read more about the Greenpeace Baltic Sea campaign and the action: