Greenpeace says Russia denies it Arctic access

August 21, 2013
Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise pictured off Bonifacio, Corsica in 2008. Greenpeace said Wednesday that Russia had denied its ship access to Russian Arctic waters to hide the extent of its lucrative energy exploration work in the fragile ecosystem.

Greenpeace said Wednesday that Russia had denied its ship access to Russian Arctic waters to hide the extent of its lucrative energy exploration work in the fragile ecosystem.

The global environmental lobby group said its Arctic Sunrise icebreaker intended to enter the Northern Sea Route to protest at work being conducted jointly by Russia's Rosneft energy giant and its US partner ExxonMobil.

Arctic Sunrise confronted the Rosneft-contracted Akademik Lazarev last week near the Barents Sea as the Russian vessel was performing powerful seismic sounding tests.

The environmental watchdog said Russian authorities had refused it permission to enter the Northern Sea Route on three separate occasions citing concerns about the ship's ability to withstand thick ice.

"This is a thinly veiled attempt to stifle peaceful protest and keep international attention away from Arctic oil exploration in Russia," Greenpeace Arctic campaigner Christy Ferguson said in a statement.

"The decision to deny us entry to the Kara Sea is completely unjustified and raises serious questions about the level of collusion between the Russian authorities and the oil companies themselves."

Russia's transport ministry did not issue an immediate comment.

Greenpeace said Rosneft and ExxonMobil currently had six vessels in the area conducting survey work under an agreement signed between the two world energy majors in August 2011.

"None of the six oil exploration vessels operating for Rosneft and ExxonMobil in the area has an ice classification as high as the Arctic Sunrise," the Greenpeace statement said.

The Kara Sea sits at the tip of Western Siberia and represents a key stretch of the Northern Sea Route that connects Asia and European markets in summer months.

Both the Russian and US energy companies hope that environmental warming gradually melting the ice will help them tap the vast oil and believed to be buried in the Arctic soil.

The US Geological Survey estimates that the region hides more than a tenth of the world's undiscovered oil and nearly a third of its untouched natural gas reserves.

Explore further: Greenpeace 'polar bears' protest Arctic oil drilling

Related Stories

Greenpeace raids Russian Arctic oil platform

August 24, 2012

Greenpeace activists on Friday scaled the sides of an Arctic oil platform owned by Russian group Gazprom to draw attention to the dangers of drilling in one of the world's last pristine reserves.

Arctic ice cap near 2007 record minimum: Russia

August 4, 2011

The polar ice cap in the Arctic has melted to near its 2007 record minimum level and in some areas is 50 percent smaller than average, Russia's environmental monitoring agency said Thursday.

Oil spilled in Russian Arctic

April 24, 2012

An oil spill in the Russian Arctic affected an area of up to 8,000 square meters after workers tried to open an old well, causing oil to gush uncontrollably for 37 hours, officials said Monday.

Greenpeace activists arrested after Sweden protest

May 3, 2012

(AP) -- Swedish police on Thursday arrested six Greenpeace activists after they boarded an icebreaker off Sweden's southeast coast, forcing authorities to tow the ship it back into land.

The Arctic: a new frontier for oil, gas firms

January 24, 2011

BP's deal with Rosneft to jointly explore the Arctic's huge oil and gas reserves sets out a new frontier in the race for resources, but one that is dogged by technical and environmental concerns.

Recommended for you

The world needs to rethink the value of water

November 23, 2017

Research led by Oxford University highlights the accelerating pressure on measuring, monitoring and managing water locally and globally. A new four-part framework is proposed to value water for sustainable development to ...

'Lost' 99% of ocean microplastics to be identified with dye?

November 23, 2017

The smallest microplastics in our oceans – which go largely undetected and are potentially harmful – could be more effectively identified using an innovative and inexpensive new method, developed by researchers at the ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1.8 / 5 (16) Aug 21, 2013
Good. Maybe Russia will sink their boat ;)
2.3 / 5 (7) Aug 21, 2013
Russians are not obliged to welcome anybody in their territorial waters, least of all Greenpeace. This is what "territorial" means. And they don't have to give a reason either.
1.3 / 5 (12) Aug 21, 2013
Greenpeace says Russia denies it Arctic access

3 / 5 (2) Aug 22, 2013
Good. Maybe Russia will sink their boat ;)

Only a ruskii lover would say that. Have you had you papers checked with the NSA yet?

There aren't any cops on the oceans and no countries seem to care about the health and well being of fish stocks, so concerned people have taken up the cause. Greenpeace is a force for good.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.