Spain seizes Greenpeace oil protest ship

UPDATED: Spain said on Wednesday it impounded a Greenpeace ship because the crew defied orders to leave a restricted zone where they were protesting against oil exploration off the Canary Islands.

Spain seizes Greenpeace oil protest ship
A Greenpeace spokesperson stated that the ship's captain, a US national, "cannot move until a €50,000 ($63,000) bail is paid." Photo: Remko de Waal/ANP/AFP
It was the latest incident involving Greenpeace's campaign boat Arctic Sunrise, which was seized by Russian commandoes in September 2013 during a protest against Arctic oil drilling.
In a protest near the Canaries on Saturday "the Arctic Sunrise violated the exclusion zone and ignored instructions by the (Spanish) navy boat Relampago to abandon the zone," Spain's Defence Minister Pedro Morenes told parliament on Wednesday.
"It launched boats into the sea in order to harass and to try to board the Rowan Renaissance" — the ship that Spanish oil company Repsol is using to explore for oil and gas, he said.
Spain's public works ministry said authorities impounded the boat on Tuesday at the port of Arrecife on the island of Lanzarote and would hold it until a bond was paid.
Greenpeace said the captain, a US national, was being refused release until the €50,000 ($63,000) bond was paid.
On Saturday, three navy boats rammed vessels in which Greenpeace activists were approaching Repsol's ship, video distributed by Greenpeace showed.
An Italian protester fell in the water and was injured, Greenpeace said. It said its activists were protesting peacefully.
The beaches of the Canary Islands, an Atlantic archipelago off northwest Africa, are a popular draw for tourists from Britain, France and elsewhere.
The Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise was boarded and seized in September 2013 as it protested at operations by Russian gas giant Gazprom. It was held until June 2014, prompting international protests.

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Two hospitalized in Munich after activist crashes parachute into Euro 2020 stadium

At least two people were hospitalised Tuesday after a Greenpeace activist crash-landed on the pitch before the Germany-France match at Euro 2020 when his powered parachute microlight struck spidercam cables at Munich's Allianz Arena.

Two hospitalized in Munich after activist crashes parachute into Euro 2020 stadium
The activist lands on the turf of the Allianz Arena. credit: dpa | Christian Charisius

The pilot flew over the pitch just before kick-off in the Group F clash with “Kick out oil” written on the canopy of his parachute.

However, when the pilot hit television cables above the pitch, it knocked his microlight off balance and he landed on the turf after clipping one of the stands, where the casualties happened.

The activist was arrested soon after landing.

A Munich police spokesman told AFP that at least two people suffered head injuries and “both had to be taken to hospital, we don’t know yet how serious the injuries are”.

The police spokesman said the activist appears to have escaped injury, but “we are considering various criminal charges. Munich police has zero understanding for political actions that put lives at risk”.

UEFA also slammed the botched stunt.

“This inconsiderate act – which could have had very serious consequences for a huge number of people attending – caused injuries to several people attending the game who are now in hospital and law authorities will take the necessary action,” European football’s governing body said in a statement.

The parachutist above the stadium. Photo: dpa | Matthias Balk

“The staging of the match was fortunately not impacted by such a reckless and dangerous action, but several people were injured nonetheless.”

The stunt was a protest against German car manufacturer Volkswagen, one of the sponsors of the European Championship, Greenpeace explained in a Twitter post.

“UEFA and its partners are fully committed to a sustainable Euro 2020 tournament and many initiatives have been implemented to offset carbon emissions,” said UEFA.

Greenpeace said they regretted any harm caused.

“This protest was never intended to disrupt the game or hurt people,” read a Twitter post on Greenpeace’s official German account.

“We hope that everyone is OK and that no one was seriously injured. Greenpeace actions are always peaceful and non-violent.”

“Unfortunately, not everything went according to plan.”

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