Demand Russia Allow Greenpeace Entry into Arctic Sea

Sea ice

Target: Northern Sea Route Administration

Goal: Allow Greenpeace to pass into the Arctic Sea

The Arctic Sunrise, an ice breaker vessel owned by the Greenpeace organization, has been denied access to the Arctic Sea by Russian officials. Their vessel also fulfills all requirements necessary for it to enter the sea route. The denial is raising serious questions about the collaboration between the Russian government and powerful oil companies drilling offshore.

The Greenpeace vessel was meant to investigate off shore drilling from oil companies such as Rosneft and Exxonmobil, but now that they are barred entry, the organization believes that this is an attempt to prevent them from exposing illegal drilling. Vessels owned or contracted by Rosneft and Exxon have conducted seismic testing and geological surveys for potential drilling locations, hence Greenpeace’s interest in the oil companies’ actions. All vessels operating under the oil companies have classifications of an inferior quality compared to the Arctic Sunrise. Greenpeace claims that these ships are not well equipped for the dangers of the Arctic, most notably the polar bears and whales. With 400 vessels granted access through the Arctic Sea route, Greenpeace claims this move by Russia as extremely unfair and backed by ulterior motives.

Greenpeace entered three applications for entry into the Arctic Sea, all of which have been rejected by the Russian government. The first two applications were rejected because of vague ice strengthening equipment; Greenpeace’s vessel has documentation that the Arctic Sunrise has the second highest ice breaker classification available when the ship was constructed. The third and latest application was denied because the information provided for their ice breakers was deemed insufficient and this issue was not raised with the previous two applications.

The actions of the Russian authorities state that they have no interest in Greenpeace’s actions or of their commitment to the environment. By denying the Arctic Sunrise entry into the Arctic Sea, Russian authorities are breaking international law, including the right to freedom of navigation. Sign this petition and urge the Northern Sea Administration to grant them access into Arctic waters.


Dear Northern Sea Route Administration,

I am writing to express my concern with the vessel, the Arctic Sunrise which has been denied access into the Arctic Sea Route three different times. The first two applications were denied because there were doubts about the strength of the vessel’s ice breakers. The third attempt then denied the vessel access because the information provided was insufficient. The Arctic Sunrise has documentation that states it is has the second highest classification of ice breaking equipment during its construction. How can this be insufficient information?

Furthermore, this vessel does not harbor ill will. They intend to peacefully protest and inquire about the actions of oil companies drilling in the Arctic Circle. Greenpeace has three million people who back their organization and wish to know why the vessel is being held up. By also denying them access you are violating international law, including their rights to freedom of navigation. 400 other vessels with inferior classifications have been allowed through and yet the Arctic Sunrise is detained. This action looks suspicious as it seems you are trying to hinder their environmental efforts. I ask that you grant them access immediately, as it is only fair and lawful.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: NASA via flickr

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245 Signatures

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