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Environment

Dutch police arrest Greenpeace activists attempting to block Russian tanker

Dutch police have arrested dozens of environmental activists after they attempted to stop an oil tanker in Rotterdam. It was making a first delivery of Arctic oil to the Dutch port.

The activists from the environmental organization Greenpeace International were arrested Thursday after taking a number of steps to try to prevent the Russian tanker Mikhail Ulyanov from docking in Rotterdam.

"Several activists climbed a fence to prevent the ship docking and several others were in small boats also trying to impede the tanker and several were arrested, around 30 activists," police spokesman Roland Eckers told the AFP news agency.

The activists also painted the words "no Arctic oil" in large letters on the hull of the Russian tanker.

"The captain has been arrested and the ship is being taken elsewhere," Eckers added, referring to the lobby group's ship, the Rainbow Warrior.

Previous arrests

The vessel was being captained by Peter Wilcox, who was among the 28 activists and two journalists arrested by Russian authorities last September, in connection with a protest near energy giant Gazprom's Prirazlomnaya offshore Arctic platform. They were all released as part of an amnesty granted by the Russian authorities in the run-up to the Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

Greenpeace opposes all oil production within the Arctic Circle, arguing that drilling there poses a threat to a still pristine area. It also argues that the use of oil and other fossil fuels in general contributes to climate change.

pfd/hc (AP, AFP, dpa)

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