Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and activists released after being arrested for protesting against oil drilling in Norway

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Press release - 22 August, 2017

Tromsø, Norway, 21 August 2017 - The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise and her crew of 35 activists have been released in Tromsø, Northern Norway. The Norwegian Coast Guard boarded the Arctic Sunrise and arrested the ship and her crew last Thursday at the Korpfjell drill site after a peaceful protest against Statoil’s controversial oil drilling in the Arctic and to oppose the Norwegian government’s granting of oil licences in violation of Norway’s Constitution and the Paris Agreement.

Six activists have been fined for breaching the safety zone around the oil rig, Songa Enabler, on Thursday. Greenpeace considers the arrest by the Norwegian authorities to be unlawful as the protest was carried out in an area where the activists have a right to protest peacefully in connection with the right of freedom of navigation. There were no grounds under international law for the Norwegian Coast Guard to board the Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise.

Greenpeace believes the action was important and necessary to highlight the Norwegian government’s granting of licenses for Statoil’s irresponsible drilling program.

“The activists stand for what they did and are facing the consequences. They have acted peacefully and with the urgency necessary to protect the global climate that the Norwegian government is right now putting at risk with reckless oil drilling in the Arctic. This new aggressive search for oil is a violation of Norway’s Constitution and a completely backwards decision while the rest of the world is agreeing to phase out fossil to reduce global warming,” said Truls Gulowsen, head of Greenpeace Norway.

“I am happy that we managed to expose the Norwegian government’s true face behind the self-proclaimed image as a green frontrunner. We protested peacefully with the support of hundreds of thousands people to make it clear that the Norwegian government is making a historic mistake with the opening of a new oil frontier. They know that more oil extraction will fuel extreme weather events like typhoons and droughts, so it’s about time they set people’s lives and health higher than short term oil profits,” said Austrian activist Dalia Kellou.

Greenpeace will continue to fight Arctic drilling. The next battle will be fought in the courtroom through a climate lawsuit brought against the Norwegian government for handing out new Arctic oil licenses. Greenpeace Nordic and Nature and Youth will meet the Norwegian government in court on 14th November, arguing that the new oil licenses are a violation of  the right to a safe and healthy environment as stated in the Norwegian Constitution (Article 112), as well as being safeguarded for future generations as well as the Paris Agreement.

Statoil’s ongoing oil drilling at the Korpfjell well is the northernmost oil operation ever in Norway.

ENDS

Images can be found here.

The full collection from The People vs. Arctic Oil ship tour can be seen here.

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