The Arctic Sunrise

Ironically, before Greenpeace started using the Arctic Sunrise it was once a sealing vessel. Greenpeace had previously confronted the ship while it was delivering equipment for the French government to build an airstrip through a penguin habitat in the Antarctic to exploit its oil and mineral reserves. The ship's first contact with Greenpeace was in 1986, in Hobart, Tasmania, when a volunteer scaled the mast, unfurled the Greenpeace flag, and locked himself in the crow's nest.

In the News

Russian Coast Guard seizes Arctic Sunrise and crew


At the end of 1996, Greenpeace prepared the Arctic Sunrise for the icy conditions of Antarctica. The hull is rounded with no keel, so that the ship lifts out of the ice instead of being crushed by it. The Arctic Sunrise began its Greenpeace life during the "Brent Spar" campaign where it was used to prevent dumping oil installations at sea.

Meet Arctic Sunrise Captain Willcox

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In 1997 it became the first ship to circumnavigate James Ross Island in the Antarctic. This was an impossible journey until a 200m thick iceshelf connecting the island to the Antarctic continent collapsed. This was just one of the many signs of climate change which the Arctic Sunrise has helped document.

The Arctic Sunrise has returned repeatedly to the Arctic to oppose Northstar, British Petroleum's project to open up a new offshore oil frontier, which threatens the vulnerable Arctic region with both oil spills and further impacts of global warming.

In the Southern Oceans, Arctic Sunrise thwarted Japanese attempts to pursue its so-called "scientific" whaling program and chased pirate vessels fishing illegally for Patagonian Toothfish to the largest pirate port of Mauritius.

Maneuvering directly into the missile's path did not prevent the US from proceeding in 2000 to test its "Star Wars" missile defence system, which threatens to ignite a new nuclear arms race.

Fortunately the Arctic Sunrise survived to tell the tale and continued on to Argentina for the start of the Latin America toxics tour in 1998.

In the Fall of 2007, the Arctic Sunrise toured the Canadian Great Lakes to call attention to the destruction of the Canadian Boreal forests. Canada's Boreal Forest is one of the most important forests left on the planet. But instead of being protected and managed responsibly, it's being clearcut and shipped off to Europe and the U.S. to make newspapers, books, and magazines.

The Arctic Sunrise blockaded the freighter Jaeger Arrow in Quebec's Saguenay River, preventing the export of thousands of tons of pulp to Europe. The pulp is manufactured by SFK Pulp from destructive logging in Canada's Boreal Forest.

In 2009, the Arctic Sunrise embarked on the Arctic Impacts Expedition with a crew of Greenpeace campaigners and independent scientists onbord. The purpose of the tour was to document the effects of global warming on the Arctic.


Port of registry: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Former name: Polarbjorn
Date of charter: 1995
Number of berths: 28
Inflatable boats: 2 Ribs and 2 inflatabes
Helicopter capable: Yes
Type of ship: Sea-going motor yacht
Call sign: PCTK
Built: 1975 by AS Vaagen Verft
Gross tonnage: 949 tonnes
Length O.A: 49.62 m
Breadth: 11.50 m
Maximum Draught: 5.30 m
Maximum Speed: 13 Knots
Main engine: MAK 9M452AK 2495 IHP 1619kW
Aux engines: 2 x Deutz BF6M716 208hp (175 kva)
Bow & stern thrusters: 400 hp each

Arctic Sunrise


The Arctic Sunrise

Arctic Sunrise Main Deck

Main Deck

Arctic Sunrise Shelter Deck

Shelter Deck

Arctic Sunrise Tank Top

Tank Top