Pirates attack US-flagged ship in Gulf of Guinea, kidnap crew members

The C-Retriever is a US-flagged offshore supply vessel owned & operated by Edison Chouest Offshore. Reports confirm that the vessel has been attacked by pirates in the Gulf of Guinea and that the captain and the chief engineer have been kidnapped.

NIGERIA: During the early hours of 23 October, pirates attacked the U.S.-flagged offshore supply vessel C RETRIEVER near Brass and kidnapped the captain and chief engineer, both U.S. citizens.

Source: US Navy, Office of Naval Intelligence, Maritime OPINTEL Report.

C-Retriever (c. 2008)

Oh, foolish pirates! A US-flagged vessel? I think we all know how this ends.

Russia charges Greenpeace with piracy

Who said the Russians don’t have a sense of humour?

Russia eyes piracy charges against Greenpeace protesters

MOSCOW – Russia opened a criminal case Tuesday against Greenpeace activists, accusing them of piracy for attempting to stage a protest on an Arctic oil rig. A Greenpeace spokeswoman called the accusation “absurd.”

Members of Greenpeace last month at Gazprom’s Arctic drilling. Russian commandos seized a Greenpeace ship Sept. 19, 2013, and detained 30 activists who were protesting oil drilling in the Arctic, Greenpeace and Russian officials confirmed the following day. Denis Sinyakov/Greenpeace

Russian border troops seized the Greenpeace ice-breaker Arctic Sunrise, along with its multinational crew of 30 activists and sailors, in a dramatic commando operation in the Barents Sea on Thursday. The day before, the group had been foiled while attempting to raise a protest banner on a Russian oil drilling platform.

The ship was towed by the Russian coast guard to an anchor in Kola Bay, about six miles from the port of Murmansk.

“After conducting a preliminary investigation, the Russian Investigative Committee’s northwestern branch initiated a criminal case on the signs of … piracy committed by an organized group,” Vladimir Markin, the investigative committee spokesman, said in a statement published on the agency’s website Tuesday.

No formal charges have been filed. Piracy carries a potential sentence of five to 15 years in prison.

Greenpeace has said the group intended to raise a banner on the Prirazlomnaya drilling platform to protest Arctic pollution. Prirazlomnaya is a major Arctic oil exploration project of Gazpromneft, a subsidiary of the Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom. It lies within a Russian exclusive economic zone.

Greenpeace spokeswoman Maria Favorskaya said Russian authorities had acted illegally in seizing and towing the group’s ship, which was traveling under the Netherlands flag.

“At first they accused our activists of terrorism, then of illegal scientific research activities and now they come up with the absurdist charge of them all – piracy!” Favorskaya said in a telephone interview from Murmansk. “How can peaceful activists who simply tried to put up a poster up the side of an oil drilling platform be accused of such a serious felony?”

One expert in international maritime law said the charge would appear to be a reach.

“They can’t be too serious about charging them with piracy,” said Joseph C. Sweeney, professor emeritus of international and maritime law at Fordham University Law School. “That requires stealing things and the intention of stealing things.”

Any legal case may turn on whether the ship was within the exclusive economic zone, as Russia maintains, or in international waters, where Greenpeace has said the ship was when it was boarded. The exclusive zone extends 200 miles off the Russian coast.

If the Greenpeace ship was boarded within the Russian zone, “Then the Russians certainly have the right to protect their own operations,” Sweeney said.

He added that there are no legal cases similar to the current situation.

http://www.stripes.com/news/europe/russia-eyes-piracy-charges-against-greenpeace-protesters-1.243249

Russian coast guard threatens use of force against Greenpeace vessel

The Greenpeace ice breaker Arctic Sunrise has been stopped by Russian border guard in the Kara Sea and has left the area following what Greenpeace claims were ‘threats to use force.”

Greenpeace is protesting an oil exploration joint venture between Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft and US oil giant ExxonMobil.

Ледокол Greenpeace, остановленный российскими пограничниками, уйдет из Карского моря

Москва. 26 августа. INTERFAX.RU – Ледокол Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise покидает Карское море, сообщила представитель российского отделения Гринпис Халимат Текеева.

“Такое решение было принято после того как российская береговая охрана пригрозила применить силу”, – сказала она.

http://www.interfax.ru/news.asp?id=325358