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Access to Arctic Sunrise ship delayed over ‘bureaucratic hurdles’ — Greenpeace

June 17, 2014, 16:56 UTC+3 ST. PETERSBURG

The organization said earlier it had expected to gain access to the ship by June 16

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ST. PETERSBURG, June 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Specialists and insurance representatives of international environmental campaigners Greenpeace still cannot gain access to the north Russian port of Murmansk, where their Arctic Sunrise ship has been held since the September 2013 storming of a Russian Arctic oil installation, Maria Favorskaya, a spokesperson for Greenpeace in Moscow, told ITAR-TASS on Monday.

The organization said earlier it had expected to gain access to the ship by June 16.

“We were given documents on the vessel’s release on June 6. But we have not received any documents for access to the port yet,” Favorskaya said, adding that there were probably some bureaucratic hurdles.

On June 18, St. Petersburg City Court should hear an appeal from Greenpeace International lawyers regarding the judgment of the Primorsky district court of St. Petersburg denying access to the Arctic Sunrise ship, she said.

“After receiving documents from the Investigative Committee, we wanted to abandon the case, but considering the situation, it will come to court,” Favorskaya said, “A court ruling might become an additional argument for obtaining access to the vessel.”

Russia’s Investigative Committee annulled the arrest of the protest ship on June 6, since “Our main priority is to get the ship checked by independent surveyors to assess the level of damage,” the organization said, adding it was unlikely The Arctic Sunrise could leave Russia in the coming days.

Russian authorities had not yet returned the essential navigation gear removed from the ship in the course of investigations into the Prirazlomnaya platform protest, extended by two months until July 24 to examine equipment found on the ship.

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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