Ukraine war protesters in kayaks and a rubber dinghy have chained themselves to an oil tanker in Norway to prevent what they say is the delivery of nearly 100,000 metric tons of Russian oil, Greenpeace said Monday.
"Oil is not only at the root of the climate crisis, but also of wars and conflicts," said Frode Pleym, program manager for Greenpeace Norway, in a statement.
"I am shocked that Norway operates as a free port for Russian oil, which we know finances [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's warfare," Pleym continued.
Greenpeace said the activists want a ban on Russian oil imports in Norway and for Esso to "cancel its contracts to buy fossil fuel from Russia in this time of war." The group also included members of Extinction Rebellion, a global network of climate change activists, Reuters reported.
Photos from the scene show fewer than 10 activists floating in small boats by the tanker and holding up signs that read "Oil fuels war" and "Stop fuelling the war."
Local television station TV2 reported that up to 10 people were arrested in connection with the incident.
Greenpeace said in a statement that the "peaceful action" is taking place in the Oslo Fjord, in the Slagentangen oil port owned by Esso, which it called a Norwegian subsidiary of U.S.-based ExxonMobil.
Exxon Mobil did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post on Monday. A spokesperson from Esso Norway told Reuters it agreed to purchase the oil before Russia invaded Ukraine and that the company does not plan to buy more oil from Russia in the future.
"Esso Norway fully complies with all Norwegian sanctions and we support the coordinated international efforts to end Russia's unprovoked attack," it told the outlet in an email.
The protest highlights the controversy around Russian oil in Europe. European countries are highly dependent on Russia to meet their oil and gas needs, and have so far not imposed a wholesale embargo, even as activists say the money from the purchase of Russian oil and gas is financing the war in Ukraine.
Greenpeace said the activists in kayaks and a dinghy attached themselves to the anchor chain of the ship, the Ust Luga, to prevent it from offloading about 95,000 metric tons of oil into an oil terminal off the coast of Asgardstrand, a port town south of Oslo. The organization, which campaigns for environmental and other causes, estimated that the ship's cargo was worth $116 million.
The Ust Luga is registered in Hong Kong, according to the website Marine Traffic. Greenpeace said the tanker is operated by Novatek -- a major Russian producer of natural gas.
According to Marine Traffic, the Ust Luga was anchored in the waters of southeastern Norway, close to the Slagen oil terminal owned by ExxonMobil's Esso Norway. A tug boat was nearing it around 3:25 p.m. local time, and a law enforcement ship was nearby.
Greenpeace activists are best known for staging colorful stunts to draw attention to the climate crisis, but the global nonprofit network also advocates for "peace, global disarmament and nonviolence." Pleym is seeking to call attention to both climate issues and the war.
"During these two months of Russia's war of aggression, we have seen horrific images and know the unimaginable suffering of the innocent civilian population of Ukraine," Pleym said. "The fact that our government still allows the import of Russian fossil fuels in the current situation is unfathomable."
"The Ukrainian president has called on Europe to halt Russian fossil fuels and with good reason," Pleym continued. "Putin's sources of revenue must be dried out immediately and banning oil import is a very good place to start. We need to make this war stop."