JOHN ROBBINS and LISA RIND/Bullet News
Updated Thursday, Sept. 19
A Port Colborne resident who is a crew member of the Greenpeace vessel currently at the centre of an international incident, is safe following a dramatic confrontation with the Russian coast guard.
On board the Greenpeace vessel,Arctic Sunrise, is Niagara native Paul Ruzycki and another Canadian from Montreal.
They are part of an international crew currently on a month-long expedition in the icy Arctic.
Activists from the Greenpeace ship were intercepted and allegedly “threatened” early Wednesday morning by members of a Russian coast guard patrol, while trying to climb onto an oil platform in the Pechora Sea.
“They’re both safe and fine,” Christy Ferguson, Arctic project leader for Greenpeace Canada, said in a telephone interview with Bullet News, Wednesday afternoon.
Ferguson herself was aboard the Arctic Sunrise just two weeks ago, but has since returned to Toronto.
Greenpeace is campaigning for a global sanctuary to be declared around the uninhabited area of the North Pole, where a drilling project to extract oil from the Barents Sea is underway. The project is run by Russian oil monopoly Gazprom.
Earlier today, Greenpeace said two of its activists, whom they referred to on Twitter (https://twitter.com/gp_sunrise) as Marco and Sini, were arrested and were being held on a Russian coastguard ship.
As of Thursday morning, Greenpeace International continues to seek the release of activists Sini Saarela (Finland) and Marco Weber (Switzerland), who are being held by the Russian Coast Guard following a peaceful protest against Gazprom’s Arctic oil drilling operations.
Greenpeace reiterated its claim the coastguard vessel had fired 11 shots across the main Greenpeace ship, according to a press release issued Thursday morning on greenpeace.org.
Russian authorities did not comment on the Greenpeace reports.
“If the Russian Coast Guard was serious about wanting to release our activists, who are being held against their will without legal representation, it knows how to contact us. These activists have been detained during a peaceful protest against Arctic oil drilling and should be released or allowed to contact a lawyer and receive consular assistance,” Ben Ayliffe, head of Greenpeace International’s Arctic oil campaign, said in Thursday’s press release.