Amsterdam, 1 August 2014 - More than 300 days after it was illegally boarded following a high profile peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise has finally departed Murmansk, Russia en route for its home port of Amsterdam.
The icebreaker has been held in custody since the ‘Arctic 30’ were apprehended on September 19th, 2013. On June 6th, 2014, Russia's Investigative Committee informed Greenpeace International that it was annulling the arrest of the Arctic Sunrise. A Greenpeace crew, led by Captain Daniel Rizzotti, finally gained access to the Arctic Sunrise on June 27th, and has spent three weeks making the ship seaworthy, after finding considerable disorder on board.
“When the Captain and crew boarded the Arctic Sunrise they found it in a bad state, with no maintenance for ten months, and the ship’s navigation, communications and safety systems either removed or destroyed”, said Greenpeace International Arctic campaigner Faiza Oulahsen. “The Arctic Sunrise is now headed for Amsterdam, where the ship will need to undergo extensive repairs, so that it can get back to protecting the Arctic from reckless oil companies like Shell and Gazprom”.
The Arctic Sunrise is expected to arrive in Amsterdam in early August, where Greenpeace activists and supporters, along with members of the Arctic 30, will welcome the ship, before it enters a shipyard for a thorough assessment of its condition and the necessary repairs. Russia’s Investigative Committee recently told Greenpeace that it had extended its investigation into the Arctic 30 case until September 24th 2014, despite the fact that the criminal case against the 30 has been dropped.
“The illegal boarding and arrest of the Arctic Sunrise and the ongoing investigation into the Arctic 30 protest was an attempt to intimidate and stifle debate about Arctic oil drilling, but it has only made us stronger”, said Oulahsen, who was one of the Arctic 30 members detained in Russia. "Millions of people spoke out against the illegal imprisonment of the Arctic 30. These same millions of people know the planet is warming and that Arctic ice is melting, and will continue to peacefully oppose the reckless pursuit of Arctic oil both in Russia and around the world”.
For a full timeline of the Arctic 30 story please see: www.greenpeace.org/international/arctic-timeline