Prirazlomnaya greenpeace

Five Greenpeace International activists attempt to climb
the Prirazlomnaya oil platform operated by Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom platform in Russias Pechora Sea. Image (c) Greenpeace

reuters_logo1By Thomas Escritt

AMSTERDAM, Oct 4 (Reuters) – The Netherlands launched legal proceedings against Russia on Friday, saying it had unlawfully detained Greenpeace activists on a Dutch-registered ship for protesting against oil drilling in the Arctic.

Two Dutch citizens were among 30 people on board the Arctic Sunrise, a Greenpeace ship, which was seized by Russian authorities last month after activists staged the protest at the Prirazlomnaya offshore oil platform.

Russian authorities have pressed piracy charges, which could result in prison sentences of 15 years, against the activists.

The Russian government declined immediate comment.

“The Netherlands today began an arbitration procedure on the basis of the (United Nations) Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans wrote in a letter to the Dutch parliament.

Greenpeace said the activists had been engaged in a peaceful protest in international waters to highlight the environmental risks posed by drilling in Arctic waters.

“Russian officials will now be called to explain their actions before an international court of law, where (they) will be unable to justify these absurd piracy allegations,” said Greenpeace lawyer Jasper Teulings.

The Dutch government contested the “unlawful manner” in which the ship was intercepted, Timmermans said, and would seek the release of all its passengers, who include 28 activists and two freelance journalists.

Apart from the Dutch citizens, the group includes one American, one Argentinian, one Australian, two Britons, two Canadians, one Dane, one Frenchman, one Italian, two New Zealanders, two Russians, one Swiss, and one Turk, according to Greenpeace

The Dutch government could “ask the Tribunal on the Law of the Sea for temporary measures for the release of the ship and its passengers,” if the arbitration does not result in their release, he said.

The Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea was set up in 1996 to settle maritime legal disputes between states. (Reporting By Thomas Escritt, additional reporting by Steve Gutterman. Editing by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Jon Boyle and Angus MacSwan)

© 2013 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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    • HUGH JANUS

      Nice Sentence structure my man..You appear to be a semi-illiterate type…am I correct ?

    • Gregor Rasputin

      they were in international waters. nice try, Putin, but your Russian to English translator is broken again. seriously, if i can take the time to check my translator after being poisoned, stabbed,shot,beaten,strangled, frozen and drowned,so can you.

  • OMBugge

    As far as I have seen only the 14 activist, incl. the journalist(s) that manned the Zodics and penetrated the 500 m. restricted zone has been charged.

    • Nathan Jr.

      You need to make the case to these guys. They obviously don’t know what they are talking about:

      http://www.riskintelligence.eu/about/approach/piracy/

      Among other things it says this about UNCLOS Article 101:

      Translated, it means that according to the IMO:

      Piracy needs to be committed for private ends, (which excludes the acts of terrorists or environmental activists).

      • Mark

        In law term we usually do not contrast the word ‘private’ with the word ‘political'; the usual dichotomy employed is between ‘private’ and ‘public’.

    • Mike

      Lewis:

      The definition of the crime of piracy is contained in article 101 of UNCLOS, which reads as follows:

      ”Piracy consists of any of the following acts:
      (a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:
      (i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;
      (ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;
      (b) 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;
      (c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).”

      UNCLOS provides that all States have an obligation to cooperate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy (art. 100) and have universal jurisdiction on the high seas to seize pirate ships and aircraft, or a ship or aircraft taken by piracy and under the control of pirates, and arrest the persons and seize the property on board (art. 105). Article 110, inter alia, also allows States to exercise a right of visit vis-à-vis ships suspected of being engaged in piracy.

      These provisions should be read together with article 58(2) of UNCLOS, which makes it clear that the above-mentioned articles and other pertinent rules of international law apply to the exclusive economic zone in so far as they are not incompatible with the provision of UNCLOS relating to the exclusive economic zone.

      It is also important to distinguish the crime of piracy from armed robbery against ships, which can occur within the internal waters and territorial sea of a coastal State. In accordance with Part II of UNCLOS, in cases of armed robbery against ships, primary responsibility for enforcement normally falls on the coastal State. Armed robbery against ships also constitutes an offence under the 1988 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA Convention) and, in some cases, the 2000 United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

      • Nathan Jr.

        Thanks for posting that, Mike. Reading the language reaffirms what people with common sense already knew; what GP did does NOT meet that definition of piracy. Nothing I’ve read about the incident describes GP committing any acts of “violence or detention, or any act of depredation”.

    • Mike

      As many have said before… piracy doesn’t not require weapons, does not require kidnapping for ransom, or robbery. The act of detention or entering into the exclusive economic zone, meets the requirements of piracy, as defined by the United Nations Legal Framework for the Repression of Piracy Under UNCLOS!!!

      • Nathan Jr.

        It does require an act of violence or detention or depredation which you would be hard pressed to argue.

    • HUGH JANUS

      Lewis…Do Us all a huge favor and..Go Fuck Yourself

    • HUGH JANUS

      First and foremost Lewis… You are a Jerk..plain and simple. Just relax and pleasure yourself like you always do in a streeful situation. And by the way Douche Bag..YOU ARE AWFUL….

  • Doug Bostrom

    Spectators cheering for Gazprom and fellow members of Putin’s circle of friends fail to notice that any resemblance between rule of law and what happens in Russia to people who get on the wrong side of the gang leaders is strictly coincidental.

    The law of the sea isn’t what’s being defended here. An inconvenience is being brushed aside. It’s the same thing that would happen to cheering spectators if they happened to launch the wrong business plan in Russia, back the wrong political candidate, criticize the wrong person. Law it isn’t.

    Correlation isn’t causation.

  • R.L

    Start with basic. Start with definitions!
    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”.
    Source – UN definition of the crime of piracy in Legal Framework for the Repression of Piracy Under UNCLOS.
    http://www.un.org/depts/los/piracy/piracy_legal_framework.htm

    Greenpeace, did you get it? ANY ACT OF BOARDING (OR ATTEMPTED BOARDING).

    According to internationally recognized PIRACY DEFINITION …
    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.

    • Nathan Jr.

      The text you quoted: “… any act of boarding (or attempted boarding) …,”, etc.

      Where does it come from? It’s not from the link you provided. It’s not under Article 101 as you stated. I can’t find it anywhere in the UNCLOS convention. I don’t know if you are trying mislead people. Where did exactly did you get?

    • Nathan Jr.

      Rico Letomer,
      I see you’ve been just merging two sets of definitions together to make your case.

      You also might want to read the contents in this link from a private resource:

      http://www.riskintelligence.eu/about/approach/piracy/

      Among other things it says this about UNCLOS Article 101:

      Translated, it means that according to the IMO:

      Piracy needs to be committed for private ends, (which excludes the acts of terrorists or environmental activists).

      • Mark

        instruction for Somalia pirates.
        1. paint your boats in green.
        2. say that you are peaceful environmental activists and place a big slogan on boarded ship with something like Save Indian Ocean!
        3. explain that you are absolutely not asking for money but will appreciate any reasonable donations on a web site and add that money are needed exclusively to clean up ocean pollution and restore fishing habitat.

        somehow I don’t think it’s gonna fly. do you? If not then what’s the difference between GP and Somalia pirates telling their own stories in different oceans?

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