Russian Federation to pay millions for seizing Greenpeace ship

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Russian Federation must pay the Netherlands more than 5 million euros ($5.79 million) in damages for seizing a Dutch-flagged Greenpeace vessel in 2013 and arresting 30 people aboard, an global arbitration panel ruled on Tuesday. The PCA also ordered Russian Federation to.

The vessel, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, was involved in a protest in September 2013 in which activists attempted to climb onto Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya platform in the Pechora Sea, about 30 nm off the Arctic coast of Siberia.

Moscow's angry response to the 2013 protest, during which two Greenpeace activists tried to scale the drilling platform, sparked an worldwide outcry.

The Tribunal issued the unanimous Award on the Merits in August 2015, in which it found that "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 ("Arctic 30")".

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The arrest of the Arctic Sunrise was lifted on June 6, 2014.

Russian Federation eventually released the ice-breaker after holding it for nearly ten months, but the organization took another month to make the ship seaworthy, as navigation and communication aids "disappeared or had been severely damaged", according to the organization.

Caretaker foreign affairs minister Bert Koeders said in a statement that he welcomed the court's decision and that he expected Russian Federation would pay up. But Greenpeace said in a statement yesterday that it had suffered considerable damage after being impounded for nine months in the northwestern port of Murmansk.

Greenpeace International's general counsel, Jasper Teulings, said the ruling "emphatically upholds global law and the right to peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Arctic". It is an intergovernmental organisation aimed at resolving disputes between countries. "Therefore we assume that it will follow it".

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