MURMANSK, July 04. /ITAR-TASS/. International environment protesters Greenpeace are refitting their campaign ship for more Arctic Ocean protests, the group said.
Arctic Sunrise, arrested by maritime border officials in last September's storming of a Russian Arctic oil rig, is being prepared for action again, spokeswoman Maria Favorskaya told ITAR-TASS on Friday.
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, Favorskaya said.
The ship would rejoin the Greenpeace flotilla after its condition was assessed and repairs completed, the official said.
Russia’s Investigative Committee annulled the arrest on June 6. “Our main priority is to get the ship checked by independent surveyors to assess the level of damage,” Greenpeace said, noting it was unlikely Arctic Sunrise could leave Russia in the next few days.
After months without proper maintenance, the ship needed careful repair, th organization said. Russian authorities had not yet returned essential navigation equipment removed during investigations.
Twenty-eight activists and two freelance journalists were arrested by Russian authorities after they had attempted to scale Gazprom’s Barents Sea installation. 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.