Activists protest against oil tankers from Russia in Baltic Sea

During the weekend of March 19, Greenpeace Nordic activists are taking peaceful action at sea to confront the Russian fossil fuels still being shipped out through the Baltic Sea to fuel the war in Ukraine. 

Activists from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Netherlands and Germany went in rhib boats, kayaks and as swimmers in front of two 250m long supertankers on their way from Russia to Europe. 

Displaying banners with “Oil Fuels War”, Greenpeace calls on Europe to reject and ban any import of fossil fuels from Russia to weaken the attack on Ukraine, and to rapidly phase out all fossil fuels to fight the climate crisis and protect humanity.

Mads Flarup Christensen, Executive Director of Greenpeace Nordic, from a kayak in the Baltic Sea, said: “While people suffer in Ukraine and people in Russia take to the streets pleading for peace, Putin’s oil and gas is still arriving at European ports, contributing to his war chest. Supertankers crossing our seas with Russian oil and gas are still delivering fossils to Europe. If we want to stand for peace, we must stop this and urgently get off oil and gas.

“This war is, as so many wars before it, funded and fueled by fossil fuels. To end this, we must end the dependency on oil, gas and coal. We have the solutions, all we need is the political will to rapidly switch to peaceful sustainable renewable energy. This will not only create jobs, lower energy bills, and tackle the climate crisis, it will also cut our dependence on imported fossil fuels, fueling conflicts in the world.”

Europe is set to spend up to US$285 million per day on Russian oil, which funds Putin’s war effort.

The supertankers confronted by Greenpeace Nordic at sea so far:

  • Waikiki, owned by Greek Cardiff Marine INC, carried 100 000 tons of crude oil from Russia with the destination set to Rotterdam, NL.
  • SFC Baltica, owned by Russian Sovcomflot, carried 85 000 tons of fuel oil from Russia with the destination set to Antwerp, Belgium.

A new tracking service launched by Greenpeace UK has identified at least 189 supertankers carrying oil and gas from Russia since the start of its invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, with 88 of them headed to Europe. Despite some countries declaring a ban on the arrival of Russian vessels, Russian cargo is still arriving via ships registered to other countries. 

Russian fossil tankers have already been a controversial subject and there is a growing international and civil society rejection of Russian imports. Greenpeace France has confronted a Russian LNG tanker at sea and 20 activists from Greenpeace Germany painted ‘No Coal’ and ‘No War’ on the side of a ship loaded with 100,000 tons of Russian coal as it approached the port of Hamburg. 

Dockers in France, the UK and the Netherlands have already refused to unload fossil tankers coming from Russia.  And the Swedish Dockworkers Union decided on March 17 to block ships from Russia.

Russia is the largest source of the European Union’s fossil fuel imports. In 2019, two-fifths of the EU’s fossil gas imports came from Russia, as did over a quarter of crude oil imports and almost half of the coal imported. EU imports of energy from Russia were worth €60.1 billion in 2020.

Photo credit: Will Rose / Greenpeace. 

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