'Unnecessary and Disproportionate': Spanish Authorities Detain Greenpeace Protest Ship

Greenpeace is protesting against Repsol in the Canary Islands. (Photo: Screengrab via Greenpeace)

'Unnecessary and Disproportionate': Spanish Authorities Detain Greenpeace Protest Ship

Detention comes just days after Spanish navy rams Greenpeace boats, wounding activists

Greenpeace is reporting their "Arctic Sunrise ship" was detained Tuesday by Spanish authorities following a peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Canary Islands.

Neither the captain nor the crew are being held.

The announcement follows what appears to be the deliberate ramming on Saturday by Spanish naval vessels of Greenpeace boats engaged in a non-violent direct action against the oil ship Rowan Renaissance, owned by the company Repsol, which has been approved by Spain to drill for oil in the Fuerteventura and Lanzarote islands.

The collision, which was captured on film by Greenpeace Spain and reported by Common Dreams, wounded at least two Greenpeace activists, one of whom suffered a broken leg and was helicopter evacuated to a hospital.

The Spanish Ministry of Public Works and Transportation detained the Arctic Sunrise, which is operated by Greenpeace International and played a role in Saturday's direct action. The Spanish government is investigating the captain of the ship for an "infringement against marine traffic rules," and authorities are holding the ship on a 50,000 euro bond is paid, Greenpeace reports.

"The detention of the Arctic Sunrise violates the rights of all people who strive to defend the environment," said Mario Rodriguez, director of Greenpeace Spain. "It's telling that the Spanish Government would so quickly support the interests of an oil company, Repsol, against a peaceful environmental organization which stands alongside millions of people who oppose reckless oil exploration."

Saturday's action was the first protest launched by the Arctic Sunrise after it was detained last year for nearly a year by Russian authorities following a direct action against drilling in the Arctic.

"Greenpeace finds this measure to be an unnecessary and disproportionate response to a peaceful protest against dangerous oil drilling," said the organization. "Greenpeace and its activists always take responsibility for their actions, but cannot accept a measure it considers to be unfair and an infringement on the right to peaceful protest and the right to a clean and healthy environment."

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