Russia rejects Law of Sea tribunal for Greenpeace ship

Russia has announced that it will not participate in an international tribunal over its seizure of a Greenpeace ship and the detention of its international crew.

In a Wednesday statement, Russian Foreign Ministry rejected the formal request submitted on Monday by the Dutch government to the Germany-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

“The Russian side has informed the Netherlands and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea that it doesn’t accept the arbitration procedure in the Arctic Sunrise case, and is not planning to take part in the tribunals,” said the official statement.

The statement further added that Moscow is still “open to the settlement” of the case, but it did not elaborate on details.

The legal proceedings could lead to the Hamburg-based court ruling, ordering Russia to release the Arctic Sea icebreaker, which was sailing under the Dutch flag.

The ship’s 30 crewmembers, who have been arrested and charged with piracy after staging a protest at an offshore Arctic oil rig, currently remain in custody in the northern Russian city of Murmansk. If found guilty, they face sentences of up to 15 years in prison.

The Russian Foreign Ministry further insisted that Moscow is not obliged to recognize the authority of the maritime tribunal, noting that the Russian government does not have to participate in disputes that involve “sovereign rights” and “jurisdiction.”