Local Sailors stage a Protest Flotilla around New York City on November 2nd – 3rd
What: A flotilla of sailboats with painted sails and banners will proceed from CT to an action at the UN Building, then on to North Cove to protest against the Russian imprisonment of the Greenpeace Arctic 30. Press conferences and Vigils will be held at either end.
When/Where: Connecticut:Vigil | Saturday, November 2nd at 4pm at Norwalk Cove Marina, 54 Calf Pasture Beach Road, Norwalk, CT 06855
When/Where: New York City: Action | Sunday, November 3rd at 11am at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island in front of the United Nations Building
When/Where: New York City: Vigil | Sunday November 3rd at 3pm at North Cove Marina between Liberty and Vessy Street, 385 South End Avenue New York, NY 10280
Why #1: To raise awareness of the imprisoned “Arctic 30″, including our friend and Norwalk, CT resident Peter Willcox, the Ships Captain
Why #2: To help raise awareness of the dangers to the environment of Arctic offshore drilling
What’s Interesting? Our action off the UN building will be newsworthy as we finish the job the “Arctic 30″ started! Martin van Breems, Peter’s friend, has crossed the North Atlantic singlehandedly, dodging icebergs while fixing a seriously damaged boat, will speak to the difficulty of working offshore in frigid conditions. We will also propose strategies to limit Arctic drilling and increase the likelihood the crew will be brought home promptly. Greenpeace officials will offer updates on the Crew.
The sailors are protesting the unjust imprisonment of the “Arctic 30″, the Captain, 27 Crew and two freelance photojournalists who have been held in desolate prison cells above the Arctic Circle, in Murmansk, Russia.
Saturday afternoon, November 2nd at 4pm, a press conference will be held at Norwalk Cove Marina, just before the flotilla departs. On Sunday morning, November 3rd the flotilla of boats will sail down the East River and up the Hudson River, with another press conference and vigil at North Cove in lower New York City at 3pm.
On September 19, 2013, Russian agents boarded and seized the Greenpeace Ship at gunpoint while in international waters. All 30 were formally arrested on September 26, 2013. The Greenpeace Ship, “Arctic Sunrise”, was repeating a peaceful protest which took place a year earlier, which consited of hanging a banner on the first Russian offshore oil platform in the Arctic circle.
Among the “Arctic 30″ being detained are two freelance photojournalists. Russia still refuses to release them while they were there to document, having no part in running the ship or the action.
The oil platform, controlled by Gazprom, is in International waters, thus Russia’s domestic laws do not apply. Nevertheless, the Russians have refused to appear before the Sea Court in Hamburg Germany which has handled other ship seizures for Russia.
The imprisoned crew hails from a diverse group of 18 countries around the world, sailing aboard a Dutch Ship, with an American, Peter Willcox, as the Captain. Peter, a Norwalk, Connecticut native first worked on the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater. Next, he worked his way up the ranks on the first Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior. His experience as Captain also includes being bombed by the French Government.
The flotilla departs from Norwalk Cove Marina at 5pm, after the 4pm Press Conference and will spend the night at City Island. The faces of the Arctic 30, locked up for over 40 days now in isolated prisons inside the Arctic circle, will gaze out from the flotilla of vessels as they circle New York.
The first stop is planned for 11am at the UN Building. The flotilla will circle in front of the UN Building to honor each crew member, and will broadcast their names, background, a plea for their release and an action to increase awareness of Arctic. The flotilla will continue heading south, around the tip of Manhattan, and will circle the Statue of Liberty. The flotilla will head up the Hudson, cross over to the New Jersey side and head back down the river. After crossing the Hudson, the boats will dock at the North Cove Marina between Vesey & Liberty Streets in front of the World Financial Center for a 3pm Press Conference with several speakers, including Greenpeace officials with the latest news. The sails and faces of the crew will form a backdrop.
The protest is headed by Martin van Breems, who owns a product development company and a sailing school, Sound Sailing Center, in Norwalk, CT, where Peter Willcox is a part time instructor.
According to Martin, “As a sailor who raced across the Atlantic singlehanded through numerous storms and around the icebergs of the Labrador Current in a collision damaged boat, I have some understanding of what it takes to run and repair a vessel offshore in cold temperatures. To say such work is brutally difficult is an understatement, and I crossed the Atlantic in the summer, with good light. Working on oil rig machinery in one of the numerous winter storms, with sub zero temperatures in the darkness, accidents leading to major spills are inevitable.”
“US based corporations are heavily invested in developing the Russian Arctic oil fields. Exxon has already committed $200 million. However, questions about what happens when something goes wrong remain unanswered. The Russian oil industry already spills about five million tons of oil into the environment every year, due to old or poorly maintained equipment, combined with human error.”
“Polluting your own backyard is one thing, but polluting a river effects your neighbors downstream. The ocean is a series of rivers. Russia’s impending offshore oil spill disaster, which in all likelihood will be impossible to clean up, will spread and end much of the life in the Arctic. The desperate Russian legal approach towards the Greenpeace “Arctic 30″ is no surprise, as they only represent legitimate doubts and concerns. I wish our flotilla was headed to the Gazprom platform, but of course, there will be many such flotilla’s next year if the crew is not treated according to the treaties that Russian has signed.
The outline of the Deepwater disaster of the Arctic is clear. More awareness of the danger, more actions, and more pressure on Russia’s international partners in offshore Arctic drilling is the only hope to free the “Arctic 30″ and halt offshore Arctic drilling.”
First Norwalk Press Conference, Saturday, Nov 2nd at 4pm
For more information, please contact:
Martin van Breems
www.soundsailingcenter.com (info posted on this site)
54 Calf Pasture Beach Road, Norwalk, CT 06855
tel 203 838 0375 | cell 203 981 3590
Second Press Conference location, Sunday November, 3rd at 3pm
North Cove Marina
Between Liberty and Vesey Street
385 South End Ave, NY, NY 10280
For more Greenpeace information, please contact:
tel 202 478 6634 cel 540 421 7558
Latest Interview with Peter Willcox:
New York Times article explaining the importance of Arctic Drilling to Russia (Gulf of Mexico to Russia):
Lukoil will not drill in the Arctic:
Some Legal Background:
An excellent first hand look at the problems of offshore drilling:
The latest NY Times article:
Info on the identity of the “Artic 30″: