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Greenpeace Activists Under Arrest in Russia

Whatever was meant by the impeccably well-dressed Vivienne Westwood’s rambling stream of consciousness on Channel4 News in defence of the Greenpeace protestors current arrested three weeks ago after attempting to board Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Pechora Sea, I found myself trying not give any credence to a Russian Government spokesman’s argument.

That the potential for future chaotic disorder if no steps were taken to halt intruders on oil platforms was, however, persuasive. Whilst the crew of the Arctic Sunrise may not have posed an immediate threat to the occupants or the installation, oil platforms in general – and Russian oil platforms specifically – do present a tempting target for violent hijackers.

I would hope that the detained protestors eventually are deported from the country rather than face the lurid threats of decades incarcerated on piracy charges, and cannot see why hard drugs would have been being smuggled on the vessel as Russian authorities allege.

That said, I have relatively little sympathy for the immediate expressions of outrage by Greenpeace that any action was taken in response to an attempted boarding: such activism, if undertaken sincerely, should not be seen as a computer game which can be reset at will.