Tuesday, April 29, 2014






The Associated Press Green Peace's Target ,the Mikhail Ulyanov oil tanker on its way from the Prirazlomnaya oil drilling platform in the Pechora Sea to Rotterdam, Netherlands  .Photo released by Green Peace International.
A AP article posted yesterday noted:
  "By TOBY STERLING, Associated Press
AMSTERDAM (AP) — Greenpeace International is sending out a ship to protest a tanker bringing the first oil produced at a new Russian offshore platform in the Arctic Circle to Rotterdam.
The environmental group said Monday it has sent the "Rainbow Warrior III" to meet the Mikhail Ulyanov, a tanker chartered by Russia's state-controlled oil company, Gazprom OAO.
Greenpeace spokesman Ben Ayliffe would not comment on what kind of protest is planned."
 Our regular readers are well aware of the fact that we don't trust the Bear , especially in the Arctic. We regard Russia as a thug state and their intentions in the Arctic as suspect. Having said that we came down squarely on the side of Russia when the Russians captured and prosecuted ( for vandalism like charges)  Green Peace crew members who boarded a Russian Arctic drilling rig. We do not believe that having amateurs board and attempt to damage marine drilling, or fishing, or exploration equipment is anything but an immediate threat to the environment. We also intensely dislike boat tactics used by Green Peace that create dangers of collision. Finally we really hate Green Peace announcing some sort of protest and refusing to describe it, forcing coast guard like authorities to have to plan for the worse. So once again on the basis of maritime safety of ships, crews, and the environment we find ourselves having to once again condemn Green Peace International for ill conceived, ill planned, and physically hazardous protest tactics.

 However, in this particular case ,Green Peace may be inadvertently helping western political interests. By protesting the arrival of Russian oil from any source they help point out to Russia that their oil and gas economic leverage over Europe may not be as strong as they think. If Russian behavior continues to be as aggressive as it has been of late Europe may increase its resistance to Russia as an oil and gas source. Europe does have other options and one big one is waiting in the wings. If the United States lifts its 40 year old oil export ban Russia would be facing not only a Western preference for a reliable supplier of Western political persuasions, but some serious price competition as well. Of course, the laudable effect of helping to raise resistance to Russian economic hegemony over Europe isn't the intention of Green Peace, but once in a while even the loose cannons of the maritime world produce a contribution to progress. Let's hope they don't create an oil spill while doing it.
 All that said, we again remind our readers that Russia so far is operating well within her own recognized Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and there is no evidence at the moment that their operations are environmentally unsound in any fundamental way. They are within their legal rights per international law. Our concern has always been with their excessive EEZ claims which encompass most of the entire Arctic Ocean. That's the thing with maritime international law. If you are going to complain about a violator, you can't extend that complaint to their legitimate EEZ activities.  If the law is to mean anything,.you have to accept the legal activities of even the biggest bully on the playground. Green Peace has to remember that any right of protest that they may claim, like their navigational rights of way on the seas, never extend through the other guy's boat.. 


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