MOSCOW, January 20 (RAPSI) – Approximately 3 million rubles ($89,728) in outstanding debt is owed to the Murmansk port authorities for the period that a seized Greenpeace vessel – the Arctic Sunrise – spent docked there following the participation of its crewmembers in an Arctic drilling protest, Russian newspaper Izvestia reported Monday.
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 Greenpeace activists scaled the Prirazlomnaya drilling rig in the Pechora Sea, the southeastern part of the Barents Sea. 30 people were on board the vessel. All of them were detained and charged with piracy. Later the piracy charges were replaced with hooliganism charges. In November all those who had been detained were released on bail. Later, they were pardoned under the amnesty announced by President Vladimir Putin.
Greenpeace lawyer Mikhail Kreindlin told RIA Novosti in December that the vessel itself should be released once all criminal cases have been closed. However, the ship is presently under the control of Russia’s Federal Investigative Committee. Izvestia reports that under maritime law, Greenpeace is required pay for the Arctic Sunrise ship’s stay in the port, but Russia has not attempted to obtain funds from the organization.The Investigative Committee has reportedly asked the federal authorities for an executive order in this case. Meanwhile, the Transport Ministry is reportedly considering whether the docking period should be free of charge.
The vessel has remained in the Murmansk port since September 24.The vessel was seized along with its crewmembers following a protest staged at a drilling rig in the Arctic. 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.