* Greenpeace says guns pointed at activists' heads
* Russia calls oil platform protest "aggressive"
* Summons Dutch ambassador to complain
(Releads with boarding)
By Gabriela Baczynska
MOSCOW, Sept 19 Armed Russian coastguard
officers boarded a Greenpeace ship that was circling an Arctic
oil platform on Thursday, after Moscow accused the
environmentalist group of "aggressive and provocative"
Greenpeace said coastguard personnel rappelled onto the ship
from a helicopter. "Greenpeace International activists locked
inside the radio room said they saw other activists detained on
their knees with guns pointed at them," it said in a statement.
A tweet that Greenpeace said was posted from on board the
ship before communications were cut, read: "This is pretty
terrifying. Loud banging. Screaming in Russian. They're still
trying to kick in the door."
Two Greenpeace activists scaled the side of the
Gazprom-owned Prirazlomnaya platform on Wednesday and
were arrested for actions the Russian Foreign Ministry said
Moscow summoned the Dutch ambassador to discuss the issue.
Greenpeace is based in the Netherlands and its Arctic Sunrise,
which had 25 people aboard, is a Dutch registered vessel. The
two people arrested for boarding the rig are of Swiss and
The protest is against the environmental risks posed by
increased energy exploitation in the Arctic, estimated to hold
13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil reserves and 30
percent of its undiscovered natural gas.
Prirazlomnaya is Russia's first Arctic offshore oil rig and
a sensitive project in a country that has made tapping the
region's resources a priority. Greenpeace activists last boarded
the platform in August.
"The intruders' actions were of aggressive and provocative
character and had the outward signs of extremist activity that
can lead to people's death and other grave consequences," the
Russian foreign ministry said in a statement issued before news
of the armed raid on the boat.
Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo
said: "We ask President Putin to restrain the Coast Guard and
order them to holster their guns and withdraw. We are a peaceful
organisation and our protest has done nothing to warrant this
level of aggression."
Global majors including ExxonMobil, Eni and
Statoil plan to work in Russia's Arctic waters and
Norway is pushing ahead with its own drilling plans.
But technical difficulties, high costs and mishaps as well
as environmental campaigns have caused hesitation among some
Developing the Prirazlomnoye oil deposit, in the Pechora Sea
some 60 km (40 miles) from Russia's northern coast, was delayed
last year, with Gazprom blaming technical problems. It is
expected to reach peak production of 6 million tonnes per year
(120,000 barrels per day) in 2019.
(Editing by Ralph Boulton)