Russian authorities said Friday that a seized Greenpeace icebreaker was being towed from the Arctic Pechora Sea to the port of Murmansk, where it will be investigated for “piracy” over its alleged attack on a Gazprom oil rig.From the UN discussing the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea
The Arctic Sunrise icebreaker “is being towed because the captain refused to steer it,” a spokeswoman for the Murmansk Region branch of the border guard service told RIA Novosti. The ship is expected to arrive in Murmansk by Monday or Tuesday, she said.
Two activists who had traveled to the Gazprom oil rig aboard the Arctic Sunrise were detained by border guards on Wednesday for trying to climb up the facility. A day later, border guards stormed the ship and took control of it, Greenpeace said, adding that the seizure was done at gunpoint.
The border guards believe that the attempt to scale the oil rig “bore signs of piracy,” Russia’s Investigative Committee said Friday, adding that it would be handling the check into the allegations.
Piracy is punishable with up to 15 years in prison, according to Russian legislation.
The definition of the crime of piracy is contained in article 101 of UNCLOS, which reads as follows:See my earlier post on this Greenpeace misadventure here.
''Piracy consists of any of the following acts:
(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:
(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;
(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;
(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;
(c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).''
Piracy? Attempted piracy?
I am glad I am not the Greenpeace defense counsel.