Captain Peter Willcox arrived home today, over 100 days after Russian authorities seized him and his colleagues for taking part in a peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling.
The Arctic 30 were seized by armed commandos in international waters on September 19 after attempting to attach a banner to an Arctic oil platform operated by Gazprom. The Duma (Russian parliament) granted the Arctic 30 amnesty earlier this month following a global campaign to free them. They were unable to leave Russia until the authorities gave them the correct exit visas on their passports.
Captain Willcox and his wife Maggy arrived back in the United States late last night. Peter said:
"Our ship was illegally seized at sea, detained and taken to Murmansk, where we were put in prison and accused of a crime we didn't commit. Now more than 100 days later, we're relieved to have received the amnesty, but we have nothing to apologize for. This was an entirely peaceful protest, the right thing to do and as a result, millions more people are now aware of the risks of drilling in the Arctic.
"We'd like to thank our supporters all over the world who put the pressure on Russian authorities and who were ultimately responsible for getting us out of jail. But it's not over yet. We need to end our dependence on oil. We already have more oil than we can safely burn without destroying the climate. This campaign will not stop until the globe has switched to renewable energy."
Phil Radford, executive director of Greenpeace USA, said:
“We’re thrilled to have Peter back home, but his freedom is only the start of something, not the end. Millions of people have joined this campaign to save the Arctic because of the courage they’ve seen in the Arctic 30, and to truly honor what they’ve done we need to be more committed than ever to stopping catastrophic oil drilling in the Arctic. A year ago, Shell lost control of its Arctic oil rig, the Kulluk, and watched helplessly as it grounded on the Alaskan coast. If the Obama administration doesn’t stop Shell’s Arctic disaster before it starts this year, then they’re joining Gazprom on the path to Arctic destruction.”
Photos of Peter and Maggy arriving on US soil here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenpeaceusa09/sets/72157635667045316/
To arrange for an interview with Peter Willcox, please contact Travis Nichols , or call 206.802.8498