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Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise ship leaves Russia after months of arrest

August 01, 2014, 11:42 UTC+3 1 1/8

The ship is expected to arrive in Amsterdam in about ten days

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MURMANSK, August 1./ITAR-TASS/. The Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise left Russia's waters after ten months of staying in the north Russian port of Murmansk.

The ship left Murmansk overnight after inspection and customs control procedures and headed for Amsterdam, a Greenpeace press secretary told ITAR-TASS.

The ship is expected to arrive in Amsterdam in about ten days. In the port, it will be welcomed in a ceremony, which will be attended also by its former crew who were arrested in Murmansk in September last year.

After arriving in the Netherlands, the ship will be fully examined and repaired.

On June 6, 2014, the Russian Investigative Committee said the Arctic Sunrise was released from arrest. On June 27, after bureaucratic procedures, the new crew headed by Captain Daniel Rizotti was allowed to board the ship. After three weeks of basic repairs, the icebreaker was prepared for departure. It was originally planned to leave on July 22, but was delayed due to formalities.

On September 18, 2013, the Arctic Sunrise approached the Russian oil drilling rig Prirazlomnaya. Greenpeace activists from the ship attempted to climb the rig, but Russian border guards stopped their operation. The vessel was towed to Murmansk, and 30 people, who were aboard, including four Russians, were arrested. The activists were charged with "piracy". Later, the Investigative Committee changed it for "hooliganism".

In late November last year, Petersburg courts ruled the activists should be released on bail. Later, they were exempted from prosecution in connection with amnesty declared in Russia to mark the 20th anniversary of the Constitution. All the 26 foreigners left Russia late last year.

The case is not closed yet. The investigation is prolonged till September 24.

Prirazlomnaya belongs to Russia's giant Gazprom.

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