Russia, Netherlands Reach Settlement for Greenpeace Ship Seizure

The Arctic Sunrise under way, 2019 (Greenpeace / Christian Aslund)

Published May 17, 2019 10:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Netherlands and Russia have reached a settlement over the 2013 detention of the Dutch-flagged Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and 30 members of her crew.

The Arctic Sunrise was involved in a protest in September 2013 in which activists attempted to climb onto Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya platform in the Pechora Sea, 30 nm off Russia's Arctic coast. The confrontation escalated, and Russian federal security officers boarded the Sunrise, seized the vessel and arrested 30 members of her crew. The ship was held for eight months, and Greenpeace said that she was damaged when she was returned from Russian custody. 

In 2017, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ordered the Russian government to pay the Netherlands $6 million in damages for seizing a Dutch-flagged vessel in international waters. The two sides eventually negotiated the amount down to $2.7 million, according to AFP. 

Greenpeace expects to receive a portion of this award for damages to the ship and for compensation for the detainees. The organization says that it plans to use remaining funds to campaign for climate protection. 

“We are pleased that the Dutch government has continued to work on this issue. Peaceful campaigning is a great right in a democracy," said Greenpeace activist Faiza Oulahsen, who was one of the 30 individuals arrested in the Prirazlomnaya action. "Although Greenpeace itself is not a party to this settlement, we are pleased that the Russian authorities endorse the essence of the tribunal's ruling."