MOSCOW, October 25 (RAPSI) – The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg will begin hearings on November 6 into a case of Greenpeace activists being detained by Russian authorities during a protest at an oil rig in the Arctic Pechora Sea, the tribunal’s president said in comments aired by a German radio station.
Russian border guards detained the activists and seized their ship after several of the protestors tried to climb up the rig. Greenpeace has denounced the seizure of the ship as unlawful because the group says the incident took place in international waters.
Russia initially charged the activists with piracy, but earlier this week lowered the severity of the charge to “hooliganism.”
The platform, owned by Gazprom Neft Shelf, a subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom, is the first ice-resistant stationary oil platform in the world set to produce offshore Arctic oil.
Greenpeace and other environmental groups oppose drilling for oil in the Arctic because they say it is currently impossible to sufficiently clean up potential oil spills in the region.