Dozens of Greenpeace activists arrested in second Arctic oil protest
Groups tries to block oil tanker from docking in Rotterdam harbour
Fourty-four Greenpeace activists were detained by Dutch police May 1 after they tried to prevent a Russian oil tanker from docking at a Rotterdam harbour.
The activists, which included crew members of the environmental group’s Rainbow Warrior III ship, were picked up for attempting to block the tanker, which is carrying the first shipment of Arctic offshore oil to Europe.
Earlier on May 1, four activists in an inflatable boat painted the words “No Arctic Oil” in large letters on the hull of the Mikhail Ulyanov tanker.
Russian president Vladimir Putin announced the first shipment of oil from the state-owned energy company Gazprom April 18, extracted from the stationary Prirazlomnoye platform in the Pechora Sea.
Days later, Greenpeace announced that its Rainbow Warrior was setting sail – captained by “Arctic 30” member Peter Wilcox – to intercept the tanker en route to Rotterdam.
A second Greenpeace ship, the Esperanza, took part in the May 1 protest at the Rotterdam harbour.
Seven of the Arctic 30 group of activists - who were jailed for two months following Greenpeace’s attempts to board the Prirazlomnoye platform last September - were involved in the May 1 protest, although it’s unclear if they were also detained.
In a news release, Canadian Arctic 30 member Paul Ruzycki said that Greenpeace wanted to shine light on the “madness” of drilling for oil in the Arctic.
“After having spent that time in a Russian jail and despite all of the support that we — the Arctic 30 — received from around the world, all opposed to Arctic oil exploitation, I am astonished that Gazprom is determined to continue with this insane practice,” he said in the release.
Greenpeace’s Canada Arctic campaigner Farrah Khan noted that Arctic oil extraction is not a distant reality in Canada.
“Canadian Arctic exploration rights have been given to oil companies with famously atrocious track records for spills — Exxon and BP — risking the livelihoods of coastal communities in our North,” Khan said.