Greenpeace Protest against Exxon Mobil (XOM), Rosneft (ROSN) Arctic Drilling Threatened With Live Fire By Russian Coast Guard

on August 26 2013 12:57 PM
  • Green peace activist
    A Greenpeace activist, whose body is painted with a liquid meant to resemble crude oil, takes part in a protest against Shell and Gazprom, whom they say are planning to extract oil and gas in the Arctic, in Warsaw August 22, 2013. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
  • Moscow Red Square Greenpeace guard Aug 2013
    A Greenpeace activist dressed in a polar bear suit looks at a Russian policeman during an action on Red Square in Moscow, June 21, 2012. Greenpeace campaigners today launched a bid for a global sanctuary in the Arctic in a worldwide series of events, organizers said. Reuters
  • Moscow Red Square Greenpeace Aug 2013
    A Greenpeace activist dressed in a polar bear suit in Red Square in Moscow. Reuters
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The Russian Coast Guard threatened to fire on a Greenpeace vessel protesting Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) and Rosneft NK OAO (MCX:ROSN) drilling in the Arctic, and turned the ship around, Greenpeace told International Business Times Monday.

“They [Russian Coast Guard] said that their captain demanded that we leave the Northern Sea route area, and that if we didn’t they would use strict measures,” Christie Ferguson, the lead Arctic campaigner for Greenpeace, told IBTimes in a phone interview. “That if we didn’t leave the Northern Sea route area that they would fire on our ship.”

Arctic Sunrise Enters the Kara Sea The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise enters the Northern Sea Route (NSR) off Russia's coastline to protest against Arctic oil drilling. Russian authorities this week refused to grant the ship permission to enter the area.  Will Rose/Greenpeace

For days now the Russian Coast Guard has been shadowing the Arctic Sunrise as the vessel has been traversing the Northern Sea route to reach ExxonMobil's and Rosneft’s activities in the Kara Sea.

Russia has denied the Arctic Sunrise access to the area, but Ferguson said that they were within their legal rights to enter and protest the activities of the giant oil companies.

Earlier Monday smaller Greenpeace boats were launched to protest a seismic vessel, the Geolog Dmitry Nalivkin, in the Kara Sea, as the Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft and American oil giant ExxonMobil prepare to drill, including in areas overlapping the Russian Arctic National Park.

Greenpace Russian Authorities Attempt to Board the Arctic Sunrise Activists unfurl a banner in front of the coastguard ship as the Russian authorities try to board the Arctic Sunrise. The Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise announced its intentions to bear witness to seismic vessel Geolog Dmitry Nalivkin in the Kara Sea.  Will Rose / Greenpeace

Ferguson said the Russian Coast Guard searched the Greenpeace boat for four hours and then threatened to use live fire if it did not turn around.

As they turned back, Ferguson said from a satellite phone in the middle of the Kara Sea that the Russians were attempting to stifle public criticism and protests. Looking out a window from within the icebreaker, she said that the Russian Coast Guard continued shadowing them.

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