ROTTERDAM, Netherlands May 1 Dutch police
stormed a Greenpeace ship on Thursday to prevent environmental
activists blocking delivery of the first oil from Russia's new
Arctic drilling platform reaching port in Rotterdam.
The Rainbow Warrior was crewed by the activists who were
detained last year by Russia in the Arctic, the campaign group
said. Greenpeace is opposed to drilling in the Arctic Sea which
it says risks causing a catastrophe in a fragile ecosystem.
Police said the activists had reneged on an agreement they
had made with harbour authorities not to interfere physically
with the ship during their protest.
A Reuters photographer said activists had draped banners
saying "No Arctic Oil" from the Russian vessel.
"The Russian ship is very big, about 250 metres long, and
there are safety concerns when you try and stop it mooring,"
Rotterdam police spokesman Roland Ekkers said.
He said the activists had been detained in a room on the
Rainbow Warrior until it docked, when the captain was arrested.
The oil-tanker Mikhail Ulyanov entered the harbour unhindered,
and moored at about 0915 GMT.
"Arctic oil represents a dangerous new form of dependence on
Russia's state-owned energy giants at the very moment when we
should be breaking free of their influence," said Greenpeace
executive director Kumi Naidoo in a statement.
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have prompted many
analysts to warn that Europe is over-dependent on Russian gas,
with some saying that the continent's reliance on Russia for
energy makes it too costly to impose sanctions on the country.
"Thirty of us went to prison for shining a light on this
dangerous Arctic oil," Dutch activist Faiza Oulahsen said in the
The vessel, which had come from the Russian Arctic port of
Murmansk, according to Thomson Reuters data, is carrying some
70,000 tonnes of oil from Gazprom's Prirazlomanaya oil
platform in the Arctic Pechora Sea. The platform was briefly
occupied by Greenpeace activists last year.
They were arrested by Russian military forces and charged
with piracy, carrying a potential prison term of decades, but
released under an amnesty initiated by President Vladimir Putin.
(Reporting by Michael Kooren; Writing by Thomas Escritt;
Editing by Louise Ireland)