On September 18, 2013 Greenpeace protestors left the Arctic Sunrise on inflatable motor boats and headed towards Gazprom's oil platform, the Prirazlomnaya, to protest drillings' which threaten the pristine Arctic environment. The Russian Coast Guard was informed of the attempted protest action and sent commandos to intercept them. They rammed the Greenpeace inflatables, fired shots across the bow of the Arctic Sunrise and arrested two activists.
On September 19, agents from the Russian Security Service (FSB) fast-roped onto the deck of the Arctic Sunrise from a helicopter overhead and took the entire ship into custody even though it was in international waters and outside the 500 meter protection zone around the drilling platform.
Taia Global analysts have discovered that RDC SCANEX, a privately owned Russian company, alerted the Coast Guard. In an email thread dated 20 September 2013, Georgy Potapov, a project manager at SCANEX at the time, wrote:
"If you, like me, received a letter from Greenpeace today about the campaign near the Gazprom rig in the Perchora Sea (also known as the Prilazlomnaya Platform) – then you’re aware that their ship was boarded by border guards. They have even been charged with violating a foreign ship within the limits of territorial waters, the so-called three-mile zone.""When charting them on the OSM map with the boundaries of water, adding the three-mile buffer zone and looking at the dates - we can see that on September 16th, Arctic Sunrise ship arrives, then moves in a circle, but does not cross any border zones or any limits of territorial waters."http://maps.kosmosnimki.ru/api/index.html?permalink=RK1NP
Alexey Kucheiko, Deputy Director of SCANEX, responded:
"For your information (in order to cool the excitement of the findings), we have provided direction for the border guards twice to intercept the ship with Greenpeacers, passing the AIS remarks to the Coast Guard of the FSB frontier: in the Kara and Pechora Sea.""And if prompted, we will ensure the seizure of the crazy civilians again. I am sure that if they got on Statoil or Shell’s platform in Alaska, they would have received even more serious consequences for the Greenpeace cash bank.""Please be very carefully in sharing your "findings" which can expose and bring a blow to our people.""For possible objections about the need to protect nature - we are conducting 2 commercial contracts, one with the wildlife sanctuary and the other - with the WWF on the basis of AIS."
Deputy Director Kucheiko not only clarified that SCANEX was responsible for reporting the position of the Arctic Sun to the Russian Coast Guard, which is part of the Border Guard of the FSB, but that he knew they'd suffer repercussions from their customers and planned to offset the blowback by providing AIS support to two environmental organizations. This is the equivalent of an oil company who, after creating an environmental disaster, announces how environmentally friendly they are.
Olga Gershenzon, SCANEX's VP of Engineering, asked Kucheiko:
"And at whose request have we imposed the Border Guards on Greenpeace?",
to which Kucheiko replied:
"At the personal request of the regional border guard officer of Coast Guard Border Service of FSB. Information is being reported to Moscow. His leaders are planning to come to our conference."
RDC SCANEX has numerous foreign partners including the U.S. Geological Survey, VMWare, HP, IBM, and Google. This could be a supply chain nightmare for western companies who have no idea what type of work SCANEX may be doing for the FSB.
On September 30, Greenpeace Russia released a statement refuting the Russian government's declaration of illegal activities by Greenpeace.
(machine translation) "Greenpeace icebreaker Arctic Sunrise did not cross the established international and Russian legislation a security zone around the platform."
"International law, in particular Article 60 (5) of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea allows you to declare a security zone no more than 500 meters around the offshore installation. Arctic Sunrise has never approached "Prirazlomnaya" closer than 500 meters. It can be seen on the web map , which displays the location of the ship. Location data were obtained through a geo-portal "Kosmosnimki" integrated with the Canadian AIS (Automatic Identification System) " Exactais " in real time."
"Inflatable boats used for carrying out a peaceful protest, approached closer than 500 meters to the platform. However, they do not pose a security risk to "Prirazlomnaya", which is on the high pedestal of steel and concrete to protect from the effects of huge ice floes."
"Actions activists present no hazard to the platform. All the Greenpeace activists undergo special training to non-violent action. They endangered the lives of the platform with him they did not have anything except banners and ropes. This is a peaceful protest was held at the "Prirazlomnaya" last year and took place without incident."Taia Global asked Greenpeace Russia to comment on this report. They informed us that there was no need for SCANEX to contact the Coast Guard since they were already in regular radio contact with the Coast Guard starting two days before the protest action took place. Daniel Simons, Chief Legal Counsel at Greenpeace International said:
"When the protest began, the ship radioed to the Prirazlomnaya to explain the peaceful intentions of the Greenpeace activists. This is standard practice at any Greenpeace protest and since this incident Greenpeace has continued to protest Arctic oil drilling peacefully and safely, most recently on Shell’s Arctic rig Polar Pioneer, which plans to drill off Alaska this summer."
"If the FSB received further information from Scanex on the ship's positions, it merely reinforces that official claims that the Coast Guard intervened forcefully because it feared a terrorist attack were bogus."Almost one year ago, on June 6, 2014, the Russian government released the Arctic Sunrise vessel, having held it for almost 9 months. The crew members had been released after a little over three months. Greenpeace has vowed to continue campaigning peacefully against oil drilling in the Arctic.
NOTE: The emails quoted in this thread were delivered to Taia Global by a Ukrainian hacker who cracked the email archives of Alexey Beseda, one of the board members of RDC Scanex as a protest action against Russia's incursion into Ukraine. All emails were translated into English from the original Russian language.
In July, 2014, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) opened a criminal case against the head of the Russian Coast Guard for financing insurgents and smuggling weapons into Eastern Ukraine.
This article has been cross-posted from the Taia Global website.
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