Sail for Freedom

This past weekend a protest flotilla traveled from Norwalk, Connecticut, to New York City, New York, and back to raise awareness of the “Arctic 30,” a group of Greenpeace activists currently imprisoned in Russia.
Author:
Updated:
Original:
EBB_2167

This past weekend a protest flotilla traveled from Norwalk, Connecticut, to New York City, New York, and back to raise awareness of the “Arctic 30,” a group of Greenpeace activists currently imprisoned in Russia.

Russian agents arrested the group at gunpoint and impounded the ship Arctic Sunrise on September 19 when several crewmembers tried to climb an oil platform owned by Gazprom and unveil a banner to protest the offshore oil drilling currently taking place within the Arctic Circle.

The crew of 30 journalists, activists and sailors from 18 different countries—including the captain of the Arctic Sunrise, U.S. sailor Peter Willcox, 59—all face stiff prison sentences after having been charged first with piracy and then “hooliganism.” In addition to saying the charges are completely out of proportion to actions of the crew, Greenpeace and other activists point out that the oil platform is in international waters, beyond the reach of the domestic laws Russia is trying to apply.

After spending two months in Murmansk, the group has been moved to a jail in St. Petersburg. In an interview with Reuter, Willcox described the conditions in Murmansk as “bleak.”

Last weekend’s flotilla of support began at the Sound Sailing Center, where Willcox also works as a part-time instructor. Later the fleet stopped at the UN Building where the sailors called out the names and backgrounds of the 30 prisoners and then asked for their release as well as more awareness of problems in the Arctic. After that the flotilla circled the Statue of Liberty before heading back down the Hudson for an afternoon press conference outside the World Financial Center.

liberty

Protest leader Martin van Breems, who is also the owner of Sound Sailing Center and a long-time friend of Willcox, described Russia’s actions, which included boarding the Arctic Sunrise international waters and sailing it into Russian territorial waters, as “outrageous,” adding: “I have never been a Greenpeace activist, but Russia's seizure of the Arctic Sunrise and imprisonment of the crew bothers me greatly.”

Related

01-GMR19FP45_1194

Boat Review: Fountaine Pajot Elba 45

With new catamaran brands springing up like mushrooms, France’s Fountaine Pajot is something of an oak tree in the market, with a story that goes back to its founding in 1976. It is also one of the largest cat builders out there, sending some 600 boats down the ways in 2018. The ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com Take no Chances This is my stern with the engine running slowly in gear against the lines. We all know that when we’re charging batteries this lets the engine warm up thoroughly. However, I have a ...read more

062110BTSN-5870-2048

Exotic Charters

If anyone tells you that they plan to sail into the sunset and live on $5 a day because they’ll be “world cruising,” you may want to remind them that in most places today, you can’t even get a $5 margarita. The world has grown smaller since adventurous couples like Hal and ...read more

Lead01-190709_1138-(1)

Racing: 12-Metre Worlds

In July, 22 12-Metres from six countries gathered in Newport, Rhode Island, for the quadrennial the 12-Metre World Championship—the second-largest 12-Metre gathering ever, only topped by the America’s Cup Jubilee in Cowes, England, in 2001. The famed class is best known as the ...read more

01-LEAD-082212PINE-6741

Naval Architect Philippe Briand

It’s not often that a Frenchman urges Americans to take more chances. With its 35-hour workweek and comprehensive social security net, France can make America look like the land of hazard and reward. To celebrated French naval architect Philippe Briand, though, who has seen more ...read more

shutterstock_208692541-2048x

Chartering in the Virgin Islands

If you like the thought of easy sailing, affordable travel costs and a low hassle factor, you can’t beat the Virgin Islands for a wondrous winter charter. Whether you’re headed to the Spanish, British or U.S. Virgins, here are some tips on chartering in a tropical paradise ...read more

c57-ex-02-hi-res

Boat Review: Bavaria C57

There is much new going on at Bavaria Yachts. Only a few months under new ownership and the German builder has already launched a new flagship—the C57, which presumably will be the template for future models, including possibly an even larger boat than this one. We sailed the ...read more