One group of activists has painted “No Arctic Oil” in large letters on the hull of the “Mikhail Ulyanov” tanker, while other activists in inflatables are trying to prevent the ship from mooring by putting themselves between the quay wall and the tanker. Peter Willcox, who was imprisoned in Russia, is the captain of the Rainbow Warrior today.
The 258 meter long tanker is carrying oil from Gazprom’s Prirazlomanaya platform located in the Arctic Pechora Sea. The controversial platform was the site of a high profile protest last year which was met with fierce resistance from Russian authorities, including the imprisonment of the 28 activists and two freelance journalists for over two months. Australian Colin Russell and permanent residents Alexandra Harris (Sydney) and Jon Beauchamp (Adelaide) were among the 'Arctic 30' arrested and detained.
Greenpeace is calling for an end to offshore Arctic oil drilling both in Russia and elsewhere in the world. The environmental group has heavily criticised international companies like Shell, BP and Statoil for their global Arctic ambitions as well as their joint ventures with Russian energy firms.
Greenpeace Sydney Arctic campaigner and member of the Arctic 30 Alexandra Harris said:
"The world’s first Arctic oil has been produced and is now being shipped to Europe. This new commodity is from the very same oil drilling platform that we attempted to hang a protest banner on, resulting in our arrest. This oil not only represents a crime to freedom of expression and peaceful protest but it also symbolises the industrialization of the Arctic and a massive leap back in progress. The only safe place for this oil is under the Arctic ice."
Activist Faiza Oulahsen from the Netherlands was also one of those imprisoned. She spoke at the scene in Rotterdam harbor:
“Thirty of us went to prison for shining a light on this dangerous Arctic oil, and we refuse to be intimidated. This tanker is the first sign of a reckless new push to exploit the Arctic, a place of incredible beauty which is melting before our eyes. I stand with five million others against those who put short term profit above the common interests of humanity.”
Greenpeace International Executive director Kumi Naidoo said:
“It’s increasingly clear that our reliance on oil and gas is a major threat not just to the environment, but to global security. Arctic oil represents a dangerous new form of dependence on Russia’s state owned energy giants at the very moment when we should be breaking free of their influence.
We cannot hope for any kind of ethical foreign policy while our governments remain hopelessly dependent on companies like BP, Shell and Gazprom.“
Greenpeace’s Save The Arctic campaign has collected over 5 million signatures including faith leaders, CEOs and Nobel peace prize winners.
Greenpeace Australia Pacific (Sydney) Alison Orme 0432 332 104