Activists block Russian oil at waters off northern Denmark

On March 31, it was reported that Greenpeace activists from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia have begun a blockade of a transshipment of Russian oil at sea in northern Denmark. 

Swimmers and activists in kayaks and rhib boats have placed themselves in between two supertankers in an attempt to block them from transferring 100,000 tons of Russian oil, from the tanker Seaoath to the huge 330m crude oil tanker Pertamina Prime, in European waters. 

Every time Russian oil or gas are purchased, Putin’s war chest grows, and so far, at least 299 supertankers with fossil fuels have left Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine. Greenpeace calls for global divestment and phase out of fossil fuels and an embargo of Russian fossil fuels to stop the funding of the war.

Sune Scheller, head of Greenpeace Denmark, from a rhib boat in Kattegat, said: “It is clear that fossil fuels and the money flowing into them is at the root cause of the climate crisis, conflicts, and war, causing immense suffering to people all over the world. 

“Governments should have no excuse as to why they continue throwing money into fossil fuels that profit a few and are fueling war, now in Ukraine. If we want to stand for peace, we must end this and urgently get off oil and gas.”

A tracking service launched by Greenpeace UK has identified at least 299 supertankers carrying oil and gas from Russia since the start of its invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, and 132 of them were headed to Europe. Despite some countries declaring a ban on the arrival of Russian vessels, Russian coal, oil and fossil gas is still arriving via ships registered to other countries.

So far, EU countries have not been able to reach an agreement on an import ban of Russian oil. Greenpeace calls on governments to make long-term choices in response to the war in Ukraine, that will help to create peace and safety, and make choices that will create a stable future like a fast transition to efficient and renewable energy. Renewables are now the cheapest form of new electricity undercutting the cost of fossil fuels almost everywhere on the planet.

Scheller said: “We already have the solutions and they are cheaper and more attainable than ever before. All we need is the political will to rapidly switch to peaceful sustainable renewable energy and invest in energy efficiency. This will not only create jobs, lower energy bills, and tackle the climate crisis, it will also cut our dependence on the imported fossil fuels fuelling conflicts in the world.”

Russia is the largest supplier of fossil fuels to the European Union and in 2021 European countries paid up to US$285 million a day for Russian oil. In 2019, more than a quarter of the EU’s crude oil imports and about two-fifths of its fossil gas imports came from Russia, as did almost half of its coal imports. EU energy imports from Russia were worth €60.1 billion in 2020.

In the past few weeks, Greenpeace has been protesting against the imports with protests and actions in several EU countries.

Photo credit: Kristian Buus / Greenpeace

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