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THE HAGUE, November 21, 19:06 /ITAR-TASS/. The owner of the Arctic Sunrise ship, which has been seized by the Russian authorities, said their refusal to release it was contrary to international law.
Murmansk’s district court on Thursday, November 21, rejected Greenpeace’s appeal against the seizure of the ship which had been apprehended by the Russian authorities after an incident at Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Pechora Sea off Murmansk, northern Russia, in September.
Gerrit-Jan Bolderman, director of the company Stichting Phoenix that owns the ship, said it was a disappointing ruling that ran counter to both Russian and international law. He said the company would file an appeal.
The court ordered the arrest of the ship on October 7 and ruled that its seizure by the Russian authorities was lawful in accordance with Article 19 of the Convention on the High Seas. The article allows the seizure of a pirate ship outside a country’s territorial waters. The ship flies the Dutch flag and belongs to a company registered in the Netherlands.
On September 18, the Arctic Sunrise approached Gazprom’s oil platform that is operating on the Russian shelf. The Greenpeace activists made an attempt to climb the platform. Russian border guards intervened and led the ship to Murmansk where the crew and the activists were charged with piracy. Later the charges were changed to acts of hooliganism. Most of the activists have been released on bail.