GREEN PEACE DEFIES RUSSIAN AUTHORITIES, ENTERS RUSSIAN ARCTIC WATERS
Photo by Green Peace G/P ARCTIC SUNRISE
In direct defiance of Russian orders Green Peace announced that its vessel the ARCTIC SUNRISE had entered the Northern Sea Route off of Russia's coast line on Saturday. The various sources that made us aware of this development were vague about the distance off the Russian coast line that the ARCTIC SUNRISE was maintaining but since the targeted area for drilling operation is just off of a Russian Arctic wildlife refuge the odds that the ARCTIC SUNRISE has violated Russian territorial waters are likely. The odds that the ARCTIC SUNRISE is operating within Russia's Exclusive Economic Zone are just about inescapable. Green Peace has announced their intention of staging a protest against oil drilling operations in the area by ROSNEF and Exxon Mobile. The nature of the protest is not disclosed, but given the nature of Green Peace's known protest tactics Russia has legitimate concern for marine safety and the absolute legal right to take control of the ARCTIC SUNRISE.
This will be a new experience for a Green Peace Crew, the Russians will not handle them like the Americans or Canadians would. We doubt that the little ship will ever sail for Green Peace again and we expect the crew, especially the Master, Chief Officer, and Chief Engineer to be rather elderly when and if they ever emerge from the Russian jail where they are most likely bound for.
If violent resistance, even unarmed, simply throwing objects that could cause injury at Russian boarding officers is shown, deadly force will be applied. The Bear doesn't fool around under such circumstances.
The Russian Arctic National Park is an important refuge for narwhals, polar bears, and whales.. The Russian government has made an exception to laws banning drilling in the area and allowed ROSNEFT and Exxon Mobile to conduct exploratory drilling in a portion of the park area. We share Green Peace's concern that none of the world's major drilling companies have shown any real technological or organizational readiness for High Arctic operations, But we also share the concern of many coastal state governments around the world with the reckless reputation of Green Peace and its at sea tactics. We disagree with the assertion of one Federal judge that such tactics amount to "piracy", but we definitely see them as dangerous , illegal, and ill advised. Green Peace "ops normal" in Russia will be treated like a crime and the crew treated as dangerous criminals. There is no sympathetic public in Russia that might exercise political clout to broker lenient treatment. Any outside political actions will probably only worsen conditions for the crew. The question is, after this incident, will Green Peace alter its strategy and tactics or get more militant and lapse into a maritime terrorist organization. France once took military action against them sinking one of their vessels in the Pacific . So if Russia gets more forceful they have a Western example to point to. Green Peace has lost the support of most of the world's Merchant Seamen, is a worrisome nuisance to most coast guards, is slowly ceasing to be a media darling. Their high handed and blatant disregard for Russian law and order isn't winning them any friends in the world, a world in which Russia is not particularly popular, but its Green Peace that comes across as an arrogant teen aged delinquent. No one will be coming to their rescue or paying any attention to their wailing when the ARCTIC SUNRISE and crew are in the strong paws of the Bear.