Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise Ship Detained, Again

By MarEx 2014-11-19 09:24:00

The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise has been detained by Spanish authorities in the port of Arrecife, Lanzarote, following last Saturday's protest by Greenpeace against oil drilling by Repsol, in the Canary Islands.

Mario Rodriguez, director of Greenpeace Spain, said: "The detention of the Arctic Sunrise violates the rights of all people who strive to defend the environment. It’s telling that the Spanish Government would so quickly support the interests of an oil company, Repsol, against a peaceful environmental organization which stands alongside millions of people who oppose reckless oil exploration."

The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (Ministerio de Fomento) has detained the Arctic Sunrise, a ship operated by Greenpeace International, while an investigation is completed into the protest on 15 November, when two Greenpeace activists, one Italian and one Spanish were injured by the Spanish Navy. The 23-year-old Italian who was knocked overboard and had her leg broken, has been taken to a hospital on shore by a navy helicopter, and is in good condition. Another activist was treated on board the Arctic Sunrise for minor cuts.

On Saturday, the Arctic Sunrise occupied the drill site before the drilling vessel arrived. It maintained the occupation, despite pressure from the authorities. Here is the captain telling the patrol vessel that his ship is staying put:

The Spanish government has launched an investigation against the captain of the Arctic Sunrise, for an alleged “infringement against marine traffic rules”, detailed in Art. 308 of the Law on State Ports and Merchant Marine and punishable with a fine of up to 300,000 euros.

Pending the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings, the Spanish authorities have ordered the vessel to be held until a 50,000 euro bond is paid. The captain and crew have not been detained.

Greenpeace warns that: “At stake are two of the Canary Islands (Fuerteventura and Lanzarote), Spanish islands off the coast of Morocco. Repsol has been given a permit to drill there, despite the risks to the ecology and tourist economy. Greenpeace Spain sided with island locals in opposing this drilling, but their warnings about safety and legal issues have so far been ignored by the Spanish government.”

This is the first protest by the Arctic Sunrise since it was held for over 300 days in Russian custody, following a protest opposing Gazprom's oil drilling in the Arctic. After winning the release of the ship, Greenpeace brought it to Amsterdam, Netherlands for repairs.  

Also Read: Spanish Navy Versus Greenpeace Dinghy, 4 Injured