27 May, 12:36

Greenpeace activists arrested for blocking Gazprom oil rig in Dutch port

Greenpeace activists arrested for blocking Gazprom oil rig in Dutch port

Dutch police on Tuesday arrested six Greenpeace activists after they chained a Russian oil drilling platform destined for the Arctic to a dock to prevent it from leaving a Netherlands port. 

"Police have arrested six of our activists. They are still in custody but we don't know what the charges are," protest coordinator Faiza Oulahsen told AFP. Police spokesman Koos Venema confirmed the arrests, saying the activists were detained after refusing a police order to abandon the GSP Saturn platform, anchored in the Dutch port of Ijmuiden, northwest of Amsterdam.

Greenpeace divers and activists with climbing gear late Monday night surrounded the massive platform, which has been contracted by Russian state oil giant Gazprom to drill for oil in the northern Pechora Sea.

"The divers chained the rig to the quay to prevent it from leaving the harbour," Greenpeace said in a statement.

"The activists wanted to prevent the Saturn... from going to the Dolginskoye field to drill for oil for Gazprom," it added.

Police intervened at around 0230 GMT and arrested the activists.

"They have been taken into custody and are expected to appear on charges later today of ignoring a police instruction to leave the rig," police spokesman Venema told AFP.

Greenpeace activists block Gazprom oil rig in Dutch port

Greenpeace activists on Tuesday blocked the Saturn oil rig charted by Russia's Gazpromneft at the Dutch port of Ijmuiden to prevent it from being used for oil drilling on the Arctic shelf, Greanpeace says on its website. "Divers immobilized the rig by chaining its support beams and stretched a banner reading "Save the Arctic" over it," the report says. The move, which was part of Greenpeace's Save the Arctic campaign, involved at least 30 Greenpeace activists from Holland, Belgium and Germany.

On Tuesday, the rig was to be towed to Rotterdam where it was supposed to be loaded on a ship and transported to a drilling site – Gazprom-owned Dolginskoye oil field in the Pechora Sea.

Another group of Greenpeace activists have climbed aboard an oil drilling rig in the Norwegian Arctic on Tuesday, trying to stop Statoil's exploration plans in one of the world's northernmost prospects, the NGO said, according to Reuters.

Greenpeace, which regularly calls Norwegian state-owned Statoil an "Arctic aggressor," said plans to drill in the Hoop area of the Barents Sea threaten Bear Island, an uninhabited wildlife sanctuary which is home to rare species and occasionally to polar bears.

Earlier in May, Greenpeace activists tried to attach an anti-Gazprom banner to the roof of the venue that was hosting the Champions League final but were arrested. Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven explained that they were trying to fix a banner because they "knew Gazprom's bosses would be in the stadium, looking up." Gazprom is actively supporting best sporting event in the world.

On May 1 over 40 Greenpeace activists were protesting against the first delivery of oil extracted in the Arctic by the Prirazlomnaya oil rig when the Dutch armed anti-terror police arrested them and took control of their vessel Rainbow Warrior.

In September 2013, a team of Greenpeace ecologists made headlines after chaining themselves to Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Pechora Sea. The activists were arrested, their vessel impounded and a criminal case opened on piracy charges. Later the charges were altered and the ecologists were amnestied.

Environmental activists claim that oil drilling in the Arctic poses threats to biodiversity of the region and hampers efforts to address climate change.

In 2010, Gazpromneft was licensed by Gazprom to develop the Prirazlomnoye and Dolginskoye oil fields.

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