An international tribunal has ordered Russia to pay damages and costs of nearly €5.4m to the Netherlands for unlawfully seizing a Greenpeace ship protesting at an oil platform in Arctic waters.
The Arctic Sunrise, sailing under a Dutch flag, was seized by Russian authorities in September 2013 during a protest against an offshore oil platform.
The 30 people on board were arrested and detained for months before being released shortly before the Sochi Olympics.
The tribunal, which ruled two years ago that the seizure breached an international treaty regulating the laws of the sea, announced the damages on Tuesday.
Greenpeace International’s general counsel, Jasper Teulings, said the ruling “emphatically upholds international law and the right to peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Arctic”.
Six Britons were among a group of 28 activists and two freelance journalists detained on the Arctic Sunrise by Russian security forces during a protest at a Gazprom drilling platform in the Arctic’s Pechora Sea.
Mr Teulings said: “The road to justice can be long but today’s award emphatically upholds international law and the right to peaceful protest against oil drilling in the Arctic – and at sea worldwide.”
Dutch foreign affairs minister Bert Koenders said: “The rulings make clear that you can’t just board ships in international waters and arrest those on board.
“The Arctic Sunrise was exercising the right to demonstrate. The rulings contribute to the development of international law, particularly the laws of the sea and freedom of expression.”
Mr Koenders called on Moscow to respect the ruling and pay up, adding that the Dutch government would add interest until Russia pays the damages.
The order to Russia included compensation of nearly 1.7 million euros (£1.5 million) for damage to the Arctic Sunrise and just over 3 million euros (£2.6 million) in compensation for material and non-material damages linked to the treatment of those aboard the ship who were detained, known as the Arctic 30.