Northern Sea Route, 26 August 2013 - The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise has decided to leave the Kara Sea and the Northern Sea Route (NSR) under threat of force from the Russian Coast Guard.
After boarding the Arctic Sunrise, the coast guard repeated its claim that the ship entered the NSR illegally – a claim that Greenpeace disputes. The coast guard warned the ship it would use force if necessary, including opening fire on the ship, if the Arctic Sunrise would not leave.
Greenpeace entered the area to protest peacefully against Arctic oil exploration by Russian state-owned company Rosneft and US oil giant ExxonMobil. The ship will now leave the NSR today, but Greenpeace International will call on the Dutch government to consider a legal complaint against Russia's violation of international law of the sea and freedom of expression.
"We are a peaceful protest ship and have done nothing to warrant the threat of force against us. We now are leaving the area to avoid any risk to our crew, but we will not stop until offshore drilling in the Arctic is banned and will continue to shine a light on the secretive activities of oil companies in the Russian Arctic. We won’t be intimidated into silence," said Christy Ferguson, Greenpeace Arctic Campaigner aboard the Arctic Sunrise.
"One wonders whether the executives at ExxonMobil or Rosneft approve of this heavy-handed response, which will surely damage the public perception of Arctic drilling even further."
Greenpeace International press desk: or +31 20 718 24 70
Pictures from the boarding can be found here
Press release from the boarding earlier today, can be found here