UN-backed tribunal orders Russia to release Greenpeace protest ship and crew

Photo: International Maritime Organization

22 November 2013 – The United Nations-backed International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea today ordered that Russia release the Greenpeace ship and its crew that it seized in September following a protest over oil drilling off its coast, once the Netherlands posts a bond of 3.6 million euros.

The Arctic Sunrise – an icebreaker operated by the environmental group and which flies the flag of the Netherlands – was boarded by Russian officials on 19 September, brought to the port of Murmansk Oblast and detained.

Last month, the Netherlands instituted arbitral proceedings against Russia under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, claiming that that the arrest and detention of the vessel and its crew by Russia violated the treaty.

It also requested that the Tribunal, based in the German city of Hamburg, prescribe provisional measures pending the arbitral proceedings.

By a vote of 19 to 2, the Tribunal’s judges today ordered that, pending arbitration, Russia “shall immediately release the vessel Arctic Sunrise and all persons who have been detained, upon the posting of a bond or other financial security by the Netherlands which shall be in the amount of 3,600,000 euros…”

The Arctic Sunrise was used by Greenpeace International, a non-governmental organization, to stage a protest against the offshore ice-resistant fixed platform ‘Prirazlomnaya’ in the Barents Sea.


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