By Leslie Yager
A flotilla of boats set sail from Norwalk's Cove on Saturday afternoon with brightly decorated sails, banners and jumbo signs showing the faces of the imprisoned group known as the "Arctic 30."
The flotilla protest was an attempt to pressure the Russian government and other governments around the world to release Norwalk resident, Peter Willcox, captain of the Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise," as well as 29 other detainees who have been held in Russia since Sept. 19 after protesting Russia's Arctic drilling push.
According to an Oct. 1 New York Times article, "Russia's Arctic drilling is key to maintaining their current output of about 10 million barrels of oil a day. Without Arctic drilling, Russia’s oil production is projected to decline by about 1 million barrels a day by 2020."
Willcox was serving as captain of the Greenpeace International Ship "Arctic Sunrise," when the vessel was boarded and seized by Russian Coast Guard.
After six weeks in detention in the northern city of Murmansk, the 30 activists and journalists were transferred from Murmansk to a jail in St. Petersburg, according to a Nov. 1 article in the New York Times, though the Russian investigators charges of piracy have been lessened to charges of hooliganism.
According to a Reuters report, courts have denied bail to all 30 and ordered them held until at least late November. Dutch government is seeking the release of the activists pending trial, according to Reuters. Greenpeace's main headquarters are in the Netherlands.
Following remarks by van Breems on Saturday at Norwalk Cove Marina, the flotilla departed at 5:00p.m. to sail to New York City where a second rally was planned for the UN Building on Sunday.