Dutch authorities arrest dozens of activists and board Greenpeace ship after Arctic oil protest

Press release - 1 May, 2014
Rotterdam, 1 May 2014 - The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior has been boarded by Dutch security agents in the port of Rotterdam, who broke down the door of the communications room and towed the ship to shore after it intercepted a Russian tanker carrying Arctic oil to Europe.

A total of 44 activists, including crew members onboard the Rainbow Warrior and activists in inflatables have been detained after they attempted to block the tanker from docking on the quayside. Greenpeace Captain Peter Willcox is among them.

Commenting on the news, Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo said:

"Our activists may be detained but this campaign is just getting started. The Arctic 30 spent two months in a Russian prison to shine a light on the madness of drilling for oil in the melting Arctic, and today they have shown real courage once again. We are hugely proud of their bravery and determination.

"From Russia to Rotterdam, our governments remain hopelessly dependent on oil, while the side effects of this addiction become more dangerous by the day. Breaking this chain is not just an environmental imperative, it is a matter of peace and security. The fight to stop Arctic oil drilling is one of the defining battles of our time. We will not be intimidated, and we will win."

At 6am this morning four activists on inflatable boats approached the tanker and painted "No Arctic Oil" in large letters on the hull. After it entered port, a separate group of twenty activists in three inflatables then positioned themselves between the tanker and the quayside to prevent it from offloading oil. A second Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, also took part to provide logistical support to the activists. Seven members of the Arctic 30 took part in today's protest.

The 258 meter long "Mikhail Ulyanov" is carrying the first 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, who fired warning shots and used knives to slash inflatable boats.

After the action the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise was towed to a port in Murmansk, and the 28 activists and two freelance journalists were jailed for over two months on charges of piracy and then hooliganism. The activists were eventually released under the terms of an official amnesty. The Arctic Sunrise remains illegally detained by Russian authorities in the port city of Murmansk, where it has been for over six months.


Greenpeace's Save The Arctic campaign has collected over 5 million signatures including faith leaders, CEOs and Nobel peace prize winners.

Ben Ayliffe, Head of Arctic Oil Campaign: +44 7815 708 683 or Björn Jettka, Press Officer: +49 171 8780778
For images contact: +49 151 21497430
For video footage contacts: +49 175 589 1718

Recent photographs of the action are available from the Greenpeace photo desk, and at: www.photo.greenpeace.org.

A full briefing on the shipment and the Prirazlomnaya platform is available at: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/briefings/polar/2014/GazpromFirstArcticOilBriefing.pdf