MOSCOW, December 13 (RAPSI) – Foreign Greenpeace activists that were aboard the Arctic Sunrise ship, now free on bail in Russia have been refused visas to leave the country, Greenpeace reported Friday.

One of the Artic Sunrise crew members, Anna Jensen from Denmark, received a letter from the Investigative Committee which said that she could not leave Russia. Greenpeace lawyers expect other crew members to receive similar notifications. “This means that the crew will have to stay in Saint Petersburg until Christmas, and, perhaps, even longer,” the Greenpeace message says.

Last week, the activists’ lawyers filed visa applications with the Federal Migration Service, that would allow their clients to leave Russia and return when called upon by the investigation. The migration service officials said that couldn’t process the visa requests without receipt of a direct notification from the Investigative Committee.

The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in Hamburg on November 22 ordered the immediate release of the Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise vessel and all persons detained along with it, upon the posting of a bond or other such financial security by the Netherlands. Russian Federaton ignored the hearing and made no statements concerning the tribunal's descision.

The Arctic Sunrise ship was seized by Russian border guards on September 19 in international waters, within Russia's exclusive economic zone, a day after two Greenpeace activists scaled the Prirazlomnaya drilling rig in the Pechora Sea, the southeastern part of the Barents Sea.

The platform, owned by Gazprom Neft Shelf, a subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom, is the first ice-resistant stationary oil platform in the world set to produce offshore Arctic oil.

Greenpeace and other environmental groups oppose drilling for oil in the Arctic because they say that it is currently impossible to sufficiently clean up potential oil spills in the region, and that such drilling cannot be economically viable.