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In Rotterdam on April 1, Dutch police raided a Greenpeace ship intended to block the delivery of oil coming from the Russian Arctic. The tanker was set to deliver the first shipment of oil from Russia’s newly operational Arctic oil platform. Greenpeace activists draped a “No Arctic Oil” banner from the Russian ship, and were detained by Dutch police.
The Greenpeace group included some of the same activists who were arrested in Russia in 2013 and held for more than two months, becoming known as the “Arctic 30.” The Russian police charged the activists with piracy, a crime that could have carried a multi-decade prison sentence. Russian President Vladimir Putin ultimately decided to free them.
In Rotterdam, the captain of Greenpeace’s “Rainbow Warrior” was arrested along with 43 others, and the vessel was towed ashore by Dutch police. “Thirty of us went to prison for shining a light on this dangerous Arctic oil, and we refuse to be intimidated,” Greenpeace activist Faiza Oulahsen said before being arrested. Dutch police said Greenpeace had broken its promise not to interfere with the ship while protesting.
Related Article: Russia’s Arctic Prize Won’t Be As Big As Many Think
Greenpeace is pushing for an end to Arctic drilling both in Russia and around the world. “Arctic oil represents a dangerous new form of dependence on Russia's state-owned energy giants at the very moment when we should be breaking free of their influence,” Greenpeace Executive
Director Kumi Naidoo said in a statement.
The Russian ship, the “Mikhail Ulyanov,” eventually docked in Rotterdam without incident. The delivered oil came from the Prirazlomnoye field located in the Pechora Sea, which began oil production in December 2013. The field’s owner, Gazprom, began loading up shipments for the first time in mid-April. The field holds an estimated 530 million barrels of oil and Gazprom hopes to ramp up production to 120,000 barrels per day by 2020.
By Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com