The Norwegian Police have arrested 20 Greenpeace activists who tried to block a tanker carrying Russian oil by chaining themselves to it. The tanker in question was the Ust Luga tanker parked at the Aasgaardstrand harbor in Norway carrying Russian oil. The tanker was on a journey to offload the fuel at Norway’s Slagen oil terminal on Monday.
BREAKING: Activists from @GreenpeaceNorge in kayaks and boats are blocking the oil tanker Ust Luga, preventing it from offloading thousands of tonnes of Russian oil at the Slagentangen oil port (owned by Esso, a Norwegian subsidiary of @exxonmobil)https://t.co/E3Zq9BfT4c pic.twitter.com/gIlQr2AtE0— Greenpeace PressDesk (@greenpeacepress) April 25, 2022
Activists of the environmental group, Greenpeace, attempted to block the tanker alleging that the Oil trade is the root cause of War and climate crisis. Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace Norway, said in a press release, “Oil is not only at the root of the climate crisis but also of wars and conflicts. I am shocked that Norway operates as a free port for Russian oil, which we know finances Putin’s warfare.” Greenpeace alleged that the tanker was operated by Novatek which is Russia’s second-largest natural gas producer.
In the Press Release, Greenpeace is asking the Norwegian government to ban the import of Russian fossil fuels and further demands that Esso cancels its contracts with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. “The Ukrainian president has called on Europe to halt Russian fossil fuels, and with good reason. Putin’s sources of revenue must be dried out immediately and banning oil imports is a very good place to start. We need to make this war stop,” said Pleym.
On Monday, Greenpeace activists tied themselves to the tanker while sitting on a rubber kayak or boat with posters calling, “Oil fuels War.” However, Esso, the company which owns the Slagen oil terminal said that the oil was bought before Russia invaded Ukraine and that the company has not made any purchases since the war started. Company spokesperson Anne Fougner said, “The purchase contract was entered into before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Esso Norway does not have other contracts for the purchase of products from Russia.”
Ane Haavardsdatter Lunde, a spokesperson for Norway’s foreign affairs ministry said, “The transport of oil from Russia is not itself a violation of the sanctions that currently apply in the EU or in Norway.” It was made clear that oil carried by the tanker does not come under the scrutiny of sanctions – a point which was not considered by enraged Greenpeace activists. The Norwegian Police detained twenty of the activists and asked other protestors to leave the site.
The protest by Greenpeace came after EU sanctions against Russia were introduced in Norway on March 18. The sanctions included measures to limit trade between Norway and Russia in goods and services.
What is Greenpeace?
Greenpeace is a global network of global and national level activists known for their aggressive activism on climate change issues. Based in Amsterdam, the organization often catches eyeballs for its protests which are mired in controversies due to their political overtones. In 2017, Greenpeace activists in Washington DC scaled a 270-foot crane near the White House to unfurl a giant banner saying ‘Resist’ in opposition to former US President Donald Trump. In 2019, the Enforcement Directorate in India seized the accounts of the controversial NGO over accusations of illegal donations. The central government in India had already canceled the FCRA license of the organization in 2015, following which many of its local offices were shut down in India.