What do you call it when a group of people on small boats attempt to board and gain control of a larger boat on the high seas? If it happens off the east coast of Africa, or around Indonesia, it’s called piracy, and the international community goes apeshit about it, deploying warships and having complicated legal wrangling parties to try and figure out the correct place to try the pirates.
If it happens off the Arctic coast of Russia, they just seem to go for a simpler approach.
Greenpeace has called on Russia to release a ship seized in the Arctic with 30 activists on board.
The Russian coastguard is towing the ship towards the city of Murmansk, a journey expected to take several days.
Four of the Greenpeace activists had tried to board a Gazprom oil rig on Wednesday, to protest against drilling.
Russia accused Greenpeace of violating an exclusion zone around the rig, but the group said its ship was in international waters.
“The safety of our activists remains our top priority and we are working hard to establish what is facing them,” said Ben Ayliffe, head of Greenpeace International’s Arctic oil campaign.
“They have done nothing to warrant this level of aggression and have been entirely peaceful throughout,” he said.
I would argue with that, Mr Ayliffe; if your activists had been trying to board a vessel without permission (and they did, for they promoted the fact and even brought along video) then they were carrying out an act of violence. And they should have known that the Russians, not a nation known for restraint when people mess about with their interests, would have little time for your silly crusades. These are the people who locked up a music group because they were mean about the president, remember – they’re hardly likely to give a shit about the feelings of a group of eco-nutters with more time and money than sense.
I really dislike the Russian way of doing things, most of the time. But this time I find myself quietly amused.