Court tells Russia to pay damages to Netherlands

An international court announces Russia must pay damages to Netherlands according to International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (ITLOS)

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise entering the Northern Sea Route off Russia's coastline to protest against Arctic oil drilling on August 24, 2013

The International Tribunal for Law of the Sea (ITLOS) has told Russia to pay for damages to the Arctic Sunrise vessel to the Netherlands, after the court found Russia had breached its obligations under the UN Convention in accordance to the Law of the Sea, but the date of payment is not determined yet.

In the case of the Arctic Sunrise (Kingdom of the Netherlands v. Russian Federation), ITLOS Case No. 22, Provisional Measures, Order of Nov. 22, 2013, the court ruled that the Netherlands was "entitled to compensation [with interest] for material damage to the Arctic Sunrise."

Arcric Sunrise is a former icebreaker operated by Greenpeace. Russia arrested 30 Greenpeace International members on board the vessel, Arctic Sunrise on September 18, 2013 as they were attempting to block Russian attempts to frack in the area.

Following the court's decision, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, made a statement about the case.

“It makes clear that the Netherlands - as the flag state - had the right to stand up for the ship's crew," said Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koender. 

"The Netherlands sees freedom of expression and the right to demonstrate as public goods that are worth defending," Koenders added.

Russia aims to claim 1.2 million square kilometers of the resource-rich Arctic Sea, expanding its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) by more than nautical miles, says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Russia’s document.

The expansion will give Russia the right to exploit  594 oil fields and 159 gas fields believed to be hidden under the sea bed, totaling an estimated five billion tonnes of untapped reserves.

The receding ice in the Arctic Sea has made the exploration and exploitation of previously undiscovered resources viable, as northern countries including Russia, the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway strive to assert their dominance in the region, which is believed to hold around a quarter of the world’s untapped oil and gas reserves.

TRTWorld and agencies