The Greenpeace ship once seized by Russia is gearing up for its next campaign, this time in Norway

By Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer - July 19, 2017
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This week, the Arctic Sunrise made a port call in Tromsø in northern Norway before sailing into the Barents Sea on Wednesday.

The ship gained notoriety when it was seized and its crew arrested by the Russian Coast Guard in 2013 following a protest against GazpromNeft’s Prirazlomnoye drilling rig in the eastern Barents Sea.

After being held for two months, the crew was eventually released, and the ship was released several months after that.

Earlier this week, an arbitration panel ruled Russia must pay some $6.4 million in damages in the case.

The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise anchored in the Advent fjord (Adventfjorden) near the town of Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago in 2016. (Getty)
The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise anchored in the Advent fjord (Adventfjorden) near the town of Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen in the Svalbard Archipelago in 2016. (Getty)

Now the ship is back in the Barents Sea, this time to protest oil drilling on the Norwegian side.

[Arbitration panel: Russia must pay Netherlands $6.4 million in Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise case]

Truls Gulowsen, Head of Greenpeace Norway, says to the Barents Observer that Statoil’s drilling is the most controversial.

“Greenpeace is taking the Arctic Sunrise to the Barents Sea since Statoil’s Arctic program is currently the most controversial drilling project on the planet. They go further north, closer to the ice edge and vulnerable seabird habitats and deeper into undeveloped areas than any other project, totally ignoring the recommendations from Norway’s own environmental agency as well as the climate lawsuit launched by Greenpeace and Nature and Youth,” Gulowsen says.

Do you have any plans to sail into Russian waters?

“Currently, we have no plans to enter the Russian waters, as it is on the Norwegian side the most controversial drilling is planned to take place, and Norway that is the most aggressive Arctic oil player in practical terms,” Gulowsen says.

This is the first campaign voyage for the Arctic Sunrise after the ship was repaired.