Greenpeace Canadians held by Russia receive diplomatic visit

Greenpeace says Canadian diplomats have been allowed to meet with two activists from Canada who are being held by Russian authorities.
This image made available by Greenpeace shows five activists attempting to climb the Prirazlomnaya, an oil platform operated by Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom, in the Pechora Sea last Wednesday. The environmental groups said Tuesday two Canadians detained by Russian authorities following the incident have been visited by Canadian diplomats. (Denis Sinyakov, Greenpeace/Associated Press)

Greenpeace says Canadian diplomats have been allowed to meet with two activists from Canada who are being held by Russian authorities.

The pair are among 30 people aboard the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise.

The ship was part of a protest against offshore drilling in the Arctic, with Greenpeace members attempting to scale a Russian-owned drilling platform.

The Russian Coast Guard seized the Arctic Sunrise and towed it toward shore.

It is now anchored near Murmansk.

Greenpeace spokesperson Christy Ferguson says the 30 people aboard come from 18 different countries.

She says diplomats from some of those countries, including Canada, were allowed on board the ship to offer assistance.

"Diplomats have been allowed to go onto the ship and meet with people from their country. And we do know that a Canadian diplomat was among those.

"So, Canadian diplomats have gone out to the ship and been able to meet. But we don't know anything more about the content of their conversation or any outcome."

A spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs confirmed consular services were being provided to the Canadians but would not provide further information, citing the Privacy Act.

Russian authorities say the Greenpeace activists could face piracy charges.

Ferguson calls that absurd.

"Piracy applies very specifically to cases where there is a violent assault for a commercial gain," she said. "These activists were acting peacefully."

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, asked Tuesday in Montreal about the incident, said he hasn't seen the charges against the Canadians, but he noted that Greenpeace in the past has taken "provocative actions" on the high seas.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.