Russian military forces stormed the Greenpeace owned Arctic Sunrise ship and arrested all crew members because of the threat over a Gazprom oil platform. Greenpeace activists have been protesting against oil exploration in the Arctic but they went to far in their actions. Armed Russian Guards boarded the Arctic Sunrise and took measures, the activists were "aggressive and provocative" according to Russian authorities. The crew members of the Greenpeace owned ship tried to interrupt the work of a state owned Russian(Gazprom) oil rig.
The last communication message from Arctic Sunrse was about Russian commandoes dropped by a helicopter on the ship and made crew members to obey their orders, all communications of the ship were cut. 3 crew members managed to lock themselves into a secret place and to use twitter for communicating with the world. They had sent a message that they were scared of the current situation and that all crew members were ordered to sit on their knees with guns against them.
Frank Hewetson, British action coordinator on the ship announced that 29 of the Greenpeace activists were held by armed men in the canteen and informed about the words of the scared crew members:
"About 10 commandoes boarded by a soviet era helicopter. They pushed us aside and ordered us to lie flat out on the deck. They then smashed their way onto the bridge.
Our engines have been turned off and they have isolated the captain Pete Wilcox. We have no idea what is happening."
There is no reports for injured people.
The location of the action scene was 60km north of the Russian coast near the island of Nova Zemlya. The situation happened in international waters and Greenpeace executives declared that the military operation was illegal.
Arctic campaigner Ben Ayliffe told:
"We have a right to be there. This was an entirely peaceful protest."
Russian government representatives announced that the Greenpeace activists were too aggressive and had the intention to provoke a response to become famous. 2 days ago two of the activists entered the Gazprom-owned Prirazlomnaya platform which is exploring the waters for oil. Russian coastguard arrested the intruders and sent them on the Russian coastguard ship Ladoga.
The Russian foreign ministry took the situation seriously and informed in a statement:
"The intruders' actions … had the outward signs of extremist activity that can lead to people's death and other grave consequences".
Gazprom (Russian state owned company) has the intention to begin production from the Prirazlomnaya platform in one year, information coming from Greenpeace which is concerned about the risk of an oil spill in an area that has 3 nature reserves protected by Russian law.
Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo told:
"This illegal boarding of a peaceful protest ship highlights the extreme lengths that the Russian government will go to keep Gazprom's dangerous Arctic drilling away from public scrutiny. We ask President Putin to restrain the Coast Guard and order them to holster their guns and withdraw. We are a peaceful organisation and our protest has done nothing to warrant this level of aggression."