by Staff Writers
The Hague (AFP) July 18, 2017
Russia must pay 5.4 million euros ($6.25 million) in damages to the Netherlands for the 2013 seizure of Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise ship during an oil drilling protest, international judges revealed Tuesday.
Unveiling the amount of the award made on July 10, the Permanent Court of Arbitration said it had "unanimously determined the... compensation owed by Russia to the Netherlands."
The sums include 1.69 million euros for damage to the Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise, and 2.46 million euros for "the material damage" suffered by 30 Greenpeace activists and journalists detained by the Russian authorities.
Russian commandos seized the ship in September 2013 and detained the 30 Greenpeace activists and journalists onboard after a protest at an offshore oil rig owned by Russian state oil giant Gazprom.
In 2015 in a case brought by the Netherlands, the tribunal found that "Russia breached its obligations" under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea "by boarding, investigating, inspecting, arresting, detaining, and seizing the Arctic Sunrise."
The court also ordered Moscow to pay compensation, with the amount only being determined this month.
Moscow's angry response to the 2013 protest, during which two Greenpeace activists tried to scale the drilling platform, sparked an international outcry.
The activists -- who became known as the "Arctic 30" -- were initially accused of piracy, a charge later changed to hooliganism, and detained for two months before being bailed and then benefiting from a Kremlin-backed amnesty.
Russia handed the ship back in 2014. But Greenpeace said in a statement Tuesday that it had suffered considerable damage after being impounded for nine months in the northwestern port of Murmansk.
"The road to justice can be long but today's award emphatically upholds international law and the right to peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Arctic -- and at sea worldwide," said Jasper Teulings from Greenpeace International.
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders also welcomed the award, saying the decision "makes it clear that ships in international waters cannot be boarded just like that and that the people on board cannot be arrested. Arctic Sunrise was exercising its right to demonstrate."
Arctic Sunrise has been refitted and last week set "sail to campaign against exploratory oil drilling in the Barents Sea by Norwegian company Statoil," Greenpeace said.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration, based in The Hague, was established by a treaty in 1899 and has 121 member countries. It is an intergovernmental organisation aimed at resolving disputes between countries. Its findings are binding.
Russia has already said it does not accept the court's authority over the case and has not taken part in the arbitration.
But Koenders said: "Russia must respect the ruling. Therefore we assume that it will follow it."
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 18, 2017
Spilt crude oil has repeatedly polluted and even destroyed marine ecosystems. An effective measure would be to remove spilt oil slicks by absorption into a separable solid phase. As Indian scientists now report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, congelation of the oil to a rigid gel within impregnated cellulose and scooping the particles out is possible. Marine oil spills are disasters that ... read more
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