December 11, 2023

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Norway arrests activists blocking Russian oil tanker

Norway arrests activists blocking Russian oil tanker

OSLO (Reuters) – Norwegian police said they arrested 20 Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion activists who on Monday prevented a Russian oil tanker from transporting Russian oil to the ExxonMobil terminal.

In protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, activists anchored their red rubber boat in the anchor chain of Ust-Luga, Greenpeace said, in a bid to prevent it from offloading an estimated 95,000 tons of oil.

“Oil is not only the root cause of the climate crisis, but also wars and conflicts. I was shocked that Norway serves as a free port for Russian oil, which we know is funding Putin’s war,” said Frode Plame, head of Greenpeace Norway.

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The group called on the Norwegian government to ban imports of Russian fossil fuels and said ExxonMobil (XOM.N) Norway’s Esso unit should cancel any contracts for such imports from Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation”.

Norwegian police later said that all the activists were removed from the area.

The Hong Kong-registered Ust Luga is docked outside the Esso oil terminal in Slagen, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of the capital, Oslo, according to ship tracker Marine Traffic.

A company spokesman told Reuters that Esso Norway had agreed to buy oil before the conflict began and had no plans for further purchases from Russia.

“Norwegian Esso fully complies with all sanctions imposed by Norway, and we support coordinated international efforts to end the unprovoked Russian attack,” Esso said in an emailed statement.

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The company added that the tanker’s cargo is used to mix marine gas oil for the marine transport sector.

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(Reporting: Terry Solsvik) Editing by Louise Heavens, David Goodman and Alexander Smith

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