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    Greenpeace Activists Forced to End Protest

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    Greenpeace activists chained themselves to a Russian vessel carrying oil rig workers on Monday, as part of a continuing protest against resource drilling in the region by Russian energy giant Gazprom, according to a statement on the environmental organization’s website.

    Sailors aboard the Arctic vessel Anna Akhmatova used water cannons to forcibly remove the Greenpeace activists who had chained themselves to the ship in protest against its supply of oil rig workers to the Arctic Prirazlomnaya drilling platform, the environmental organization reported.

    Earlier on Monday, Greenpeace's global executive director Kumi Naidoo and 13 other activists approached the Anna Akhmatova in the Pechora Sea, which ferries oil workers to the Prirazlomnaya rig, in inflatable boats and chained themselves to the vessel’s anchor.

    It was the second action in three days by the environmental activists protesting Russia’s exploration of the Arctic Ocean. On August 24, six activists scaled the side of the Prirazlomnaya and remained suspended there for 15 hours, holding a banner reading “Save the Arctic.”

    Greenpeace criticizes what it claims is Gazprom's lack of a spill response plan for its Arctic operations.

    “With this peaceful protest, we want to stave off the potential disaster that becomes possible when this platform begins its operations,” Naidoo said in a statement after the August 24 protest. “Greenpeace actions are directed against the dangerous plans of drilling in the Arctic, and not against the workers who, as are all of us, hostages of the oil industry.”

    Russia has stepped up its exploration of Arctic oil reserves in recent years, having signed agreements with international partners including Statoil, Total and ExxonMobil to help exploit the region’s natural resources.

    Gazprom has promised to start drilling this summer, and begin oil production by early next year.

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