Dutch arrest 30 Greenpeace activists blocking Russian tanker

Dutch arrest 30 Greenpeace activists blocking Russian tanker

THE HAGUE - Dutch police on Thursday arrested around 30 Greenpeace activists, including the captain of the lobby group's flagship Rainbow Warrior, as they tried to stop a Russian tanker delivering Arctic oil from docking.

"The captain has been arrested and the ship is being taken elsewhere else," Rotterdam police spokesman Roland Eckers told AFP of the Rainbow Warrior.

"Several activists climbed a fence to prevent the ship docking and several others were in small boats also trying to impede the tanker and several were arrested, around 30 activists," Eckers said.

The Rainbow Warrior was captained by Peter Willcox, who was among campaigners detained by Russian authorities last year after staging a high-profile protest against drilling in the environmentally fragile Arctic.

No one else aboard the Rainbow Warrior was arrested, while the Mikhail Ulyanov tanker, bringing a first delivery of offshore Arctic oil to Rotterdam, was now safely moored, police said.

Activist Willem Wiskerke tweeted from aboard the vessel that he was in the ship's mess with police.

Activists attached to pipe

Police spokesman Eckers said the protest was over after police removed "a couple of people who had fastened themselves to a sort of oil pipe" on the quay.

"We detached them, it went peacefully, they're on shore," Eckers said.

Greenpeace activists had earlier painted "No Arctic Oil" in large letters on the tanker's hull, while others in inflatable boats tried to prevent the ship docking.

The oil on board the Russian tanker is the first to be delivered from the Prirazlomnaya platform, an offshore rig owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom and the site of Greenpeace's protest last September.

Greenpeace has accused France's Total of hypocrisy for buying the Arctic oil, after the energy giant's CEO Christophe de Margerie said in 2012 that his company would not drill in the region.

Despite criticism, Total on Thursday left the door opened to further purchases of Arctic oil.

"This is a spot purchase not a long-term contract," a Total spokesman told AFP in Paris.

"There are currently no other crude orders in the Arctic. Total has bought Russian oil for years and will continue to do so according to market needs and opportunities."

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