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Greenpeace campaign ship prepares to set sail for Amsterdam

July 17, 2014, 18:48 UTC+3 MURMANSK
Crew led by captain Daniel Rizotti and insurance representatives have been working on the vessel in port at Murmansk in northern Russia since the end of June
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© ITAR-TASS/Greenpeace press service

MURMANSK, July 17. /ITAR-TASS/. International environment protesters Greenpeace are completing repairs of their campaign ship, refitting it for more Arctic Ocean confrontations, the group said.

Arctic Sunrise, arrested by maritime border officials in last September's storming of a Russian Arctic oil installation, is being prepared to set sail for Amsterdam, Greenpeace-Russia spokeswoman Tatyana Vasilyeva told ITAR-TASS on Thursday.

Crew led by captain Daniel Rizotti and insurance representatives have been working on the vessel in port at Murmansk in northern Russia since the end of June, where the ship had been held for nine months, Vasilyeva said.

After months without proper maintenance, the ship needed careful repair, the official said.

“The crew restores all systems of the vessel, including damaged navigation and communication equipment, and prepares it for departure,” she said.

The ship would rejoin the Greenpeace flotilla after its condition was assessed by independent surveyors, Vasilyeva said.

“This is a technical expert examination of the vessel’s condition and the level of damage. We have not received its results yet,” she said, noting it was expected Arctic Sunrise could leave Russia in coming days.

Twenty-eight activists and two freelance journalists were arrested by Russian authorities after they attempted to scale Gazprom’s Barents Sea installation.

They were seized by Russian security guards and their vessel was towed to the port of Murmansk. The protesters - nationals of 18 countries and four Russians - were initially taken into custody on charges of piracy, later downgraded to hooliganism.

After two months in a Russian jail, the activists were released on bail. In December last year, Russia formally dropped criminal charges against the crew, released under a Kremlin-backed amnesty. All 26 foreign activists had returned home by the end of last year.

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