A federal judge in Alaska ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that Greenpeace USA will be fined $2,500 for every hour that protesters block a Royal Dutch Shell vessel from leaving Portland. The protesters [press release] have been suspending themselves from a bridge and kayakers have been blocking the river to try to prevent a vessel leaving for oil drilling in the Arctic from passing. US District Court Judge Sharon Gleason warned that the fine would jump to $5,000 an hour on Friday, $7,500 an hour on Saturday, and $10,000 an hour on Sunday.
The environmental advocacy organization Greenpeace International [advocacy website] has been involved in other lawsuits over the years. In 2013, Russian authorities dropped [JURIST report] criminal charges against the first of 30 people accused of taking part in a Greenpeace protest in the Arctic. The 30 jailed activists were accused of hooliganism after they staged a protest on an Arctic oil rig in September. In November a Russian court granted bail to Colin Russell, who was one of the activists detained. That same month, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) [official website] ordered the release [JURIST report] of the Greenpeace International ship Arctic Sunrise as well as the release of the 28 activists and two freelance journalists who were arrested on board the ship, upon payment of a 3.6 million euro bond by the Netherlands. In October the activists were charged with piracy following their staged protest. Russia’s treatment of the activists has drawn criticism from a number of rights groups including Human Rights Watch [official website].