Russia seizes Greenpeace ship for trespass and piracy

CFACT hung a banner which read “Ship of Lies” on Arctic Sunrise in 2009

Russia has seized the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and towed it into the port of Murmansk after Greenpeace personnel “attacked” Russia’s “Prirazlomnaya” oil platform in the Pechora Sea. The thirty people who were aboard the diesel powered ship are being held in several different pretrial detention areas while Russian authorities conduct a criminal investigation.

Machine gun fireLast week, two members of the Greenpeace crew began to board the platform using ropes while others buzzed the platform in inflatable boats. Workers on the platform repelled the boarders using fire hoses until Russian security personnel fired warning shots from machine guns into the sea at which time Greenpeace surrendered.

Arctic Sunrise is the same Greenpeace ship upon which CFACT hung a banner rechristening the vessel a“ Ship of Lies” in 2009 during COP 15 in Copenhagen. CFACT’s expressed its opinion about ongoing campaigns by Greenpeace which use propaganda tactics to distort the truth. CFACT did not employ Greenpeace’s signature lawless tactics, but rather offered the crew donuts and then hung the banner while they enjoyed their snack. View video here.

The Russians rounded up the Greenpeace crew using inflatable boats of their own. They then towed Arctic Sunrise into the northern port city of Murmansk. The 30 people aboard Arctic Sunrise hail from a variety of nations including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia, France, Italy, Turkey, Finland, Switzerland, Poland and Sweden.

At first the passengers and crew were detained aboard ship in port. However, Russian officials later removed everyone from the ship and they are currently being held in multiple different pre-trial detention centers while officials conduct a criminal investigation.

Greenpeace boarder climbing“All those who carried out the attack on the platform will face criminal charges, regardless of their nationality, ” according to Russian investigator Vladimir Markin. “It’s hard to believe that the so-called activists did not know that the platform is an installation with a high hazard level, and any unauthorized actions on it can lead to an accident, which would not only endanger the people aboard it but also the ecology.” Arctic Sunrise Markin said, was “packed with electronics of unclear use.”

Russian authorities at first seemed determined to charge those who carried out what they are calling an “attack” upon the platform with piracy which carries a sentence of 10-15 years.

Later, Russian President Vladimir Putin discounted the likelihood of Greenpeace boarders surrounded by Russian security 2prosecuting the Greenpeace boarding party as pirates saying during an Arctic forum in Russia, “It is perfectly obvious that they are no pirates. But they made a deliberate attempt to seize the oil platform. Our law-enforcement agents, our border guards didn’t know who was trying to seize the platform under the guise of Greenpeace. Especially against the background of the bloody events that were taking place in Kenya – that could have been anything.”

The Moscow Times reports:

While it is unlikely that piracy charges would hold up in court, the crew could face prosecution for illegal trespassing, said Viktoria Zhdanova, a senior lawyer at Inmarine, a St. Petersburg-based legal firm specializing in maritime law.” “Zhdanova said that she saw no legal grounds to prosecute the crew for piracy but that the charge of illegally trespassing a border was feasible, since the Russian rig is considered Russian territory even when in international waters… Greenpeace said earlier that its ship had been in international waters, meaning it could not face punishment under Russian law. Investigators disagreed, however, saying the Arctic Sunrise was seized in Russia’s exclusive economic zone.

French sink rainbow warriorThe incident at the Prirazlomnaya oil platform is by no means the first time that Greenpeace has raised the ire of a nation’s government. Most famously, in 1985 French special forces sunk the original Rainbow Warrior in New Zealand. However, in this case, Greenpeace workers were caught in the act of what, while may not hold up as piracy, does seem a clear violation on Russian and International law. If Russian authorities decide to hold the full weight of the law against them, the punishment for the Greenpeace boarders could be severe. Whether and how severely those responsible will ultimately be punished, will in the end most likely be decided by politics and public relations, pitting the vastly wealthy and connected radical green NGO against the increasingly autocratic Russia.

The outcome may well hinge on whether top Russian authorities ultimately determine defense of their rights and deterrence against future “attacks,” or warm public relations to better serve their needs of the moment.

In CFACT’s opinion what Greenpeace did was not an act of piracy, however, Greenpeace should cease employing tactics which endanger the lives and property of their own people and certainly of innocent people at work. Knocking off the propaganda would be a bonus.

Click to view video of CFACT banners going up

on Arctic Sunrise and Rainbow Warrior

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About the Author: CFACT Ed

  • Douglas W. Rodrigues

    Greenpeace are a bunch of bleeding heart dreamers who are totally engrossed with the imaginary good that they think they’re doing for the world. Time to grow up, kiddies. The only thing you people are doing is being a pain-in-the-butt and not much more.

  • jameshrust

    I was visiting Australia and New Zealand at the time the Rainbow Warrior was sunk. They were attacking whaling ships at the time endangering those involved with fishing. I don’t think Greenpeace had much sympathy from the people down South at that time and I suspect they will not have much sympathy from many Americans. Let the Russians use their ship for torpedo practice.
    Jim Rust

  • MrInterpid

    If the simple minded tree huggers rot in a Russian jail for a while it might bring them partially to their senses. Serves em right.

    • Jim Brown

      Oh they’re not simple-minded. They know exactly what they are doing. They WANT and NEED the attention so as to not fade away into irrelevancy. It is funded by the same people that fund arms dealers. The trick is the sting…the goal of the major players that REALLY run this planet is to distract us…defer us to something like this…or abortion…or Global Warming…to keep our eyes off what is really going on.
      Separation of Classes to combat over-population. One world government / 2 distinct (rich & poor) classes / Running Man / Soylent Green / Logan’s Run in reality. Don’t think it can’t or won’t happen.

  • Marilynne L. Mellander

    I’ve always thought Greenpeace was an undercover government operation, just like the whole “environmental movement”

  • Not You

    Those ‘legend in their own mind’ vainglorious trouble makers need a reality check and Putin is just the right power monger to give it to them.

  • Mark

    Let’s HELP Greenpeace!

    Stop to pollute the Arctic and to imprison Greenpeace International activists! SIGN THE PETITION:

    https://www.change.org/petitions/president-vladimir-putin-russian-government-stop-to-pollute-the-arctic-and-to-imprison-greenpeace-activists

    Association of air owners + Greenpeace = VICTORY!

    • papertiger0

      heh heh… What? You’re serious?

      Queue the Data laugh.

      • Jason Shepard

        Papertiger, you would be amazingly surprised at the outcry present over this situation at numerous forums: Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, 1,000,000 Strong Against Offshore Drilling and more. There are literally hundreds upon hundreds of people demanding their release for doing nothing more than “justified civil disobedience.” You post in support of Russia for protecting its property rights and you have dozens of people calling you a Nazi, a bigot, a retard and/or numerous other derogatory names. There are petitions up all over demanding the release of these 30, but I have yet to see one in support of Russia. Maybe that’s something we need to do — to show Russia that not all Americans are psychotic, babbling nutjobs and that many of us do support their due process?

        • Jason Shepard

          I actually went and did try to start a petition on Change.org, but the petition creation process caused me numerous problems. I’ve run into this before and it seems to be a coding issue between many websites and Firefox/Safari. Hopefully someone else who is willing to use a different browser will take the time to create this.

  • Start with basic. Start with definitions!
    Read Internationally recognized THE MARITIME LAW ON PIRACY.

    Piracy, according to article 101 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is DEFINED AS:

    “… any act of boarding (or attempted boarding) … and directed: against a ship, aircraft, persons or _property_ in a place outside_the_jurisdiction_of_any_State … any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making_it_a_pirate_ship or aircraft”.

    According to internationally recognized DEFINITIONof PIRACY …

    It does not matter what kind of intentions.
    It does not matter if you call it peaceful or not.
    It does not matter if weapon was or wasn’t used.
    It does not matter if that was ship or oil platform as it was directed “against property”.
    It does not matter if that was committed in international water.

    Break law – serve your term.