MOSCOW, September 28 (RIA Novosti) – Russia's investigators started Saturday inspecting the Greenpeace ship seized in the Arctic by the country's authorities last week, a spokesman for the Russian Investigative Committee has said.
“The investigators have received a warrant from a court to inspect the ship,” a spokesman said.
Greenpeace said earlier Russian investigators boarded the vessel, Arctic Sunrise, on Saturday morning. The captain of the ship, Peter Willcox, and his lawyer are present for the inspection.
A Russian court ruled to put a group of 22 foreign and Russian Greenpeace activists behind bars for two months Thursday over their protest at an offshore oil drilling platform in the Arctic last week. Eight others are being held for three days awaiting a new hearing, the environmental group said.
Thirty people of 19 different nationalities were detained when Russian border guards stormed the Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise on September 19, a day after two activists scaled a Russian oil rig in the Pechora Sea to protest against the potential impact of drilling on the Arctic’s fragile ecosystem.
They are now under investigation for piracy, which carries a maximum jail sentence in Russia of 15 years. No charges have yet been brought in the case.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that the actions of the Greenpeace activists clearly did not amount to piracy, but that they were illegal.