Friday, September 20, 2013

In the grip of border guards - Spiegel Online

The three last desperate had taken refuge in the radio room. But the door did not last long. Since the silent satellite phones and radios on the “Arctic Sunrise”. The Russian secret service FSB, also responsible for the management of the country, stormed a Greenpeace ship in the Pechora on Thursday. Whose crew had previously tried to achieve with speedboats, the oil platform “Prirazlomnaya” in order to climb up there.

eco-activists to protest against offshore oil drilling in the Arctic and the thawing were also several times on the platform. This time Russian authorities responded with full force. According to Greenpeace estimates 15 or 16 men and a helicopter were at the storming of the “Arctic Sunrise” involved. Now the ship is to be brought to Murmansk, where it is expected on Monday. What exactly is the crew accused, you do not know yet at Greenpeace.

environmental organization insists that the use of Russians protested this move was illegal and therefore to several Russian embassies in Berlin. The storming of the organization brings global headlines. Was the repeated action against the platform “Prirazlomnaya” So possibly a deliberate rule breaking to generate more attention by a robust intervention of the Russians?

A Question of Distance

No, it says in the eco-activists. The “Arctic Sunrise” had 40 nautical miles off the Russian coast found, as the FSB access. This means that in international waters. The exact coordinates are included to prove the same by twitter: 69 degrees and 19 minutes north, 57 degrees and 16 minutes east


“The distance plays a crucial role,” said Nele Matz-Lück by Walther Schuecking Institute for International Law at the University of Kiel. “Are the details of Greenpeace, the ship was outside the Russian territorial waters.” The incident took place in the so-called exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off – and there the sovereignty of Russia to the UN Law of the Sea is actually restricted


ships of other countries – the “Arctic Sunrise” is the Dutch flag on the way – are allowed to move freely. At least as long as they do not fish illegal conduct or dirt into the sea as pirates go. And also argues Greenpeace. But this may be too simplistic. International law point out that Russia also in the EEZ does have sovereign rights when it comes to construction and protection of platforms.

“International law is unfortunately very stretchy”

“The UN Convention on the Law allows the coastal state to set up around oil and gas production platforms a security zone that can be up to 500 meters wide,” says Doris King of the Bucerius Law School in Hamburg. And in this zone, the State must take “appropriate measures” to ensure the safety of navigation and the platform.

“What ‘appropriate measures’ are now, will certainly remain in dispute in this case,” said Henning Jessen from the Sea and Maritime Law Institute of the University of Hamburg. International law was “unfortunately very stretchy.” But it seems clear: As simple as Greenpeace is legal, it is just not


called SUA Convention and the Protocol thereto, make even the attempt to occupy a platform for the offense – even if the crew is not only intimidated and attacked directly. This provision also invoked the Japanese whalers if they fight in the Antarctic with the eco-activists of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Russia could possibly justify his actions as well. But official statements on the subject does not exist. Also, Gazprom, operator of the “Prirazlomnaya” platform will not comment further.

That was the crew aboard the “Arctic Sunrise” known the safety zone, the Greenpeace activists Dima Litvinov SPIEGEL had confirmed nor via satellite phone. That was before the storming of the ship. Greenpeace lawyer Daniel Simons now noting, however, that the Russian zone of three nautical miles is larger than allowed. In addition, the “Arctic Sunrise” have this area only briefly injured – and after the first use against the FSB speed boats with the climbers

. support team will travel to Murmansk

It was necessary to secure equipment in the water drifting material. “That would have otherwise hindered the shipping,” says Simons. The use of the Russians against the ship is therefore inadmissible in his view. Doris King also says: “There is much to suggest that the application of the ship outside the security zone contrary to the UN Convention on the Law.” Although the Russians could probably rely on the right to so-called pursuit to access outside the safety zone. But that is subject to harsh conditions – “and they were probably not met,” said the lawyer. Nele Matz-Lück also expressed similar.

Henning Jessen argues, however, the boarding of the “Arctic Sunrise” could be with violating the security zone entirely justified. However, the Russian authorities would always choose the mildest means, to avert the danger: “Of course, fundamental human rights activists must not be violated.”

reports from the radio room about splintering doors and devastation certainly do not sound like the FSB agents had actually the “mildest means” used. However, because no direct contact hours since the ship is possible, can only speculate.

Greenpeace lawyer Simon now wants to put a team on the way to Murmansk, to stand to the side of the crew. He hopes that the team identifies Russia – and the ship after payment of a ransom to release again. See the Russian law at least as before.

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