On September 18, 2013, several Greenpeace activists, bearing ropes and posters, attempted to board a Gazprom oil platform, the Prirazlomnaya, in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Russian Federation. They did so in inflatable craft launched from a Greenpeace vessel, the Netherlands-flagged MV Arctic Sunrise. They were soon arrested by the Russian Coast Guard. The following day, armed agents of the Russian Federal Security Service boarded the Arctic Sunrise itself from a helicopter, arresting those on board. The Netherlands was apparently informed of Russia’s intention to board and arrest the vessel shortly after the original boarding of the platform. Over the next four days, the vessel was towed to Murmansk. Russian authorities charged the thirty detained persons (the so-called Arctic 30) with “piracy of an organized group.” Although President Vladimir Putin acknowledged that the protesters were “obviously... not pirates,” he also noted that “formally, they tried to seize our platform.” On October 4, the Netherlands announced that, under Annex VII of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), it had commenced arbitration proceedings against Russia over the detention of the Arctic Sunrise and the legality of its seizure. On October 21, the Netherlands filed with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) a request for the prescription of provisional measures pending the constitution of the Annex VII arbitration tribunal.
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