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Russia Ordered to Pay $6 Mln for Seizing Greenpeace’s 'Arctic Sunrise'

Greenpeace's Arctic Sunrise ship enters the Northern Sea Route off Russia's coastline to protest Arctic oil drilling in defiance of Russian authorities. Will Rose / Greenpeace

Russia has been ordered to pay 5.4 million euros ($6.25 million) in damages to the Netherlands for seizing the “Arctic Sunrise” Greenpeace ship and detaining its crew in 2013. 

The Permanent Court of Arbitration said in an online statement on Tuesday that Russia had violated the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea by boarding the ship without consent and detaining crew members.

“Russia breached its obligations under the Convention by boarding, investigating, inspecting, arresting, detaining, and seizing the Arctic Sunrise, a vessel flying the Dutch flag, without the prior consent of the Netherlands, and by arresting, detaining, and initiating judicial proceedings against the thirty persons on board that vessel,” the court said.

The damages include compensation of 1.69 million euros for damage to the vessel and 600,000 euros “for non-material damage to the Arctic 30 for their wrongful arrest, prosecution, and detention in Russia.”

Russian border guards seized the "Arctic Sunrise" ice-breaker along with its entire crew at gunpoint in September 2013 after activists on board tried to scale an offshore oil rig owned by the state-run gas giant Gazprom.

All 30 people on board the ship, including two journalists, were taken into custody and charged with piracy and later hooliganism, which carry lengthy prison sentences in Russia.

The activists were released after two months in detention following an amnesty.

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