Greenpeace ship returns to warm welcome

2014-08-09 19:11
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Amsterdam - Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise ship arrived home to a warm welcome in The Netherlands on Saturday, almost a year after it was seized by Russia during a protest against Arctic oil drilling.

"It's great to have her back," veteran Greenpeace skipper Pete Willcox, who captained the Arctic Sunrise at the time of the seizure, told AFP by telephone.

"We were missing a big member of our family for many months," he said.

Russian commandoes seized the Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise in September 2013 and detained 30 Greenpeace activists and journalists after a protest at an offshore oil rig owned by Russian state oil giant Gazprom.

Russia released the ship in June and it then took around a month to get it seaworthy for the trip back to The Netherlands, with Greenpeace saying equipment including navigation and communication aids "disappeared or had been severely damaged".

The activists, including four Russians, were arrested after two campaigners attempted to scale the giant Prirazlomnaya offshore platform, which environmentalists warned poses a threat to the pristine Arctic ecology.

Originally facing a charge of piracy, the so-called "Arctic 30" were later targeted with less severe hooliganism accusations.

They were detained for around two months before being bailed and then benefitting from a Kremlin-backed amnesty.

Greenpeace is suing Russia before the European Court of Human Rights for what it says was the illegal detention of its activists, arguing that it breached their right to freedom of expression.

The Arctic Sunrise meanwhile was towed to the Arctic port of Murmansk in north-western Russia where it was detained.

The Arctic Sunrise finally left Murmansk just over a week ago after a Greenpeace crew worked around the clock to repair some of the damage.

"Once welcomed in Amsterdam, the Arctic Sunrise will head straight for the shipyard for much-needed repairs," Greenpeace said in a statement.

"We expect to get a damage estimate within the next two weeks," the environmental group added.

"The idea is to re-install the electronics and get her going again," said Willcox, who was also in charge of the environmental group's Rainbow Warrior ship when French agents sank it in Auckland harbour in 1985 as it prepared to lead protests around Mururoa atoll.

"I think she'll be back out campaigning in about a month, maybe six weeks," Willcox said.

After the ship arrived in Beverwijk port on Saturday, more than half of the Arctic 30 got on board for the festive entry into nearby Amsterdam harbour.

They drank a ceremonial cup of tea made in a samovar, a Russian teapot that was a gift from Russian supporters, Greenpeace said.

Read more on:    greenpeace  |  netherlands  |  environment

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.