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Meet The 30 Greenpeace Activists Being Held In Russia

Known as the Arctic 30, these Greenpeace members are being held in Russia for scaling an offshore oil platform as an act of protest against Russia’s energy exploration in the Arctic. The group of 30, which includes two journalists and 28 activists, was charged with piracy, which carries a maximum 15-year jail term.

Posted on October 15, 2013, at 11:38 p.m. ET

1. Faiza Oulahsen

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Age: 26

Oulahsen studied political science in Amsterdam and specialized in international relations. She's been with Greenpeace since 2011, and is one of Greenpeace's youngest campaigners. She wrote a letter from her cell in Murmansk, Russia, about her experiences entering the Arctic Sunrise until she was imprisoned by Russian security forces. "I have no idea how this will end, how long it will take. The uncertainty is driving me crazy," she wrote.

2. Ekaterina Zaspa

Crew Member
Moscow, Russia
Age: 37

Zaspa has volunteered to take part in environmental education initiatives where teams from various countries cleaned trash from shorelines, including one in Meshchera, Russia, and another on Baikal Lake, where she met her husband, Ilya.

3. Andrey Allakhverdov

Moscow, Russia
Age: 50

Allakhverdov is a radio journalist, who, in the early 1990s, produced a national broadcast series on Radio Rossiya about the challenges facing Russia's environment. He joined Greenpeace in 2012. His wife and 16-year-old son are waiting for him to come home.

4. Ruslan Yakushev

Crew Member
Odessa, Ukraine
Age: 33

Yakushev graduated from college in 2001 with a major in production engineering. He loves watching football and playing the guitar.

5. Gizem Akhan

Crew Member
Istanbul, Turkey
Age: 24

When Akhan was 18, she and her father began volunteering at the Greenpeace Mediterranean office in Istanbul. She has been an active volunteer ever since.

6. Dimitri Litvinov

Age: 51

Litvinov was born in Russia but has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Sweden. He started working for Greenpeace in the U.S. as a canvasser in 1989. Years later he moved to Stockholm, Sweden, where he has worked and raised three children with his wife, Anita. Litvinov has worked for Greenpeace U.S., Russia, and International.

7. Denis Sinyakov

Freelance Photographer
Obninsk, Russia
Age: 36

Sinyakov is a journalist and photographer who has worked internationally for 10 years. He is married with one young son.

In a preliminary hearing in Russia recently, Sinyakov said:

"The criminal activity I am blamed for is called journalism. I will keep doing it. Greenpeace is an organization with a 40-year history and is well known for its activities. But I don’t work for it. I am a journalist. You can see my photos in the media in Russia and all over the world. All my equipment has been seized. My only weapon is my camera."

8. Camilla Speziale

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Age: 21

Speziale describes herself as a passionate volunteer who has taken part in a number of environmental protests, including one to prevent a mining operation in Argentina. The Arctic protest was Speziale's first out at sea and the furthest she has been from home.

Hear Speziale’s thoughts about the trip, before she left, in her own words:

View this video on YouTube

9. Roman Dolgov

Age: 44

Dolgov studied English and other languages at the Moscow State Linguistic University. He is a translator by profession who first started working with Greenpeace in the 1990s covering anti-war topics. More recently he has been working on various environmental issues.

10. Tomasz Dziemianczuk

Bialystok, Poland
Age: 36

Dziemianczuk grew up in Poland and has a masters in Cultural Management from the Warsaw School of Economics. He has been a part of Greenpeace since 2004, when an office opened in Poland. He is an experienced maritime pilot and climber who has been involved in many protests, including scaling Japan's Mt. Fuji in 2012 to protest against nuclear energy.

11. David Haussmann

Crew Member
Reefton, New Zealand
Age: 49

Haussmann and his partner Sarah have a 3-year-old, with another baby expected to arrive in early 2014. While working in Port Nelson, New Zealand, in 1999, he was introduced to Greenpeace and shortly after joined the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior as an electrical engineer. He has worked on many campaigns whilst sailing for the past 13 years, often with Sarah. This is David's fourth journey to the Arctic aboard the Arctic Sunrise, making him one of the most experienced crew members.

12. Jonathan David Beauchamp

Crew Member
Auckland, New Zealand
Age: 51

Beauchamp is an avid sailer, and in 1990 he co-bought a concrete-hulled boat called Melinda in New Zealand. Jonathan sailed her to Vava’u in the northern islands of the Kingdom of Tonga, where he established a sailing charter business, Sailing Safaris. He sold the business in 2007, and eventually settled with his partner, Tania, and their dog in Adelaide, South Australia. Since leaving Tonga, Beauchamp has done several trips as a crew member of Greenpeace, looking after the small boats on the Arctic Sunrise.

13. Cristian D'Alessandro

Crew Member
Naples, Italy
Age: 32

D'Alessandro has a degree in biotechnologies and first became involved with Greenpeace as a volunteer. In 2010, he became volunteer coordinator of his group in Naples. The mission on the Arctic Sunrise is his second aboard a Greenpeace ship in two years.

14. Francesco Pisanu

Crew Member
Paris, France
Age: 38

Pisanu first joined Greenpeace as a volunteer in Paris, where he took part in environmental protests. In May 2006, he had his first experience aboard a Greenpeace ship. He volunteered aboard The Esperanza on the “one year oceans tour campaign,” which was aimed at creating marine reserves around the world. He sailed from the Mediterranean to the Pacific Ocean, through the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. He later earned the degrees required to become a crew member for Greenpeace, and now is committed to sailing the oceans to raise awareness about environmental issues.

15. Sini Saarela

Helsinki, Finland
Age: 31

Saarela is an experienced climber, and in 2007 she scaled the crane of nuclear construction site Olkiluoto 3, in Finland, to demonstrate against nuclear power.

Last year, she climbed the oil platform Prirazlomnaya with Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo. During that protest, Sini said:

“You can try to stop us with icy water, but it will not deter us, because we know how important it is for the fragile environment here, to prevent oil drilling. The Arctic nature around me will not survive oil spills.”

When questioned during the preliminary hearing in Murmansk, Russia, Saarela said:

"This is laughable: they told me I am a guest, but did not give food or the possibility to use toilet."

On being held on board the Coast Guard vessel:

"This was a proposal you could not refuse, because they were armed with assault rifles. Did they have permission to shoot climbers with live bullets?"

16. Kieron Bryan

Freelance Videographer
Devon, United Kingdom
Age: 29

Bryan is a talented filmmaker and videographer from southwest England. He previously worked at The Times of London, The Mirror, and Current TV. He left The Times in January to pursue freelance opportunities and was employed by Greenpeace on a short-term contract to document the organization’s work on Russian oil exploration in the Arctic Circle. This was his second commission with Greenpeace International, and he made this film aboard the Sunrise with the crew he is now detained with:

View this video on YouTube

17. Anne Mie Roer Jensen

Æroe, Denmark
Age: 26

Jensen is currently studying at the Marstal Navigation School to become a navigator.

When Anne was questioned in a preliminary hearing in Murmansk, she said:

“This was not a violent attack but a non-violent demonstration. We did not use weapons, we are peaceful. We want to save the Arctic, and we are here to spread the word. Near the platform [Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya], we ensured that our equipment was safe. In contrast, the officers who detained us were using fire arms.” “I don’t have any extra information to hide. I won’t run away. I know that I believe in saving the Arctic.”

18. Mannes Ubels

Crew Member
Oudeschip, Netherlands
Age: 42

An experienced member of the crew, Ubels is interested in engineering and sailing, having traveled to both poles to document climate change and Japanese whaling. In 2001 Ubels chained himself for hours to the anchor chain of the ship Saga Tide, which was transporting timber products from Canadian forests.

19. Paul Ruzycki

Crew Member
Port Colborne, Canada
Age: 65

Ruzycki began sailing in the 1980s, and out on the open water he discovered the harm being done to the environment: from overfishing on Canada’s East Coast, to nuclear testing in the South Pacific, to logging in British Columbia and whale slaughter in Antarctica. He used the opportunity to get involved with Greenpeace, when the vessel MV Beluga came to Montreal.

20. Alexandre Paul

Crew Member
Age: 36

Paul became involved with Greenpeace as a canvasser in the late 1990s. In 2007, he participated in an action to protest against a port for nuclear submarines in Scotland, where he was arrested and jailed for several days. Paul has served as a dedicated sailor and activist aboard Greenpeace ships for over seven years.

21. Anthony Perrett

Newport, Wales
Age: 32

Perrett's passion for the environment formed the basis for his educational path through studying forestry. He works as a tree surgeon, and is also a director of a community interest company that encourages and supports the use of renewable energy.

22. Frank Hewetson

London, United Kingdom
Age: 45

Hewetson has worked for Greenpeace in the U.K. and Australia since 1989. He has taken part in many Greenpeace campaigns over the past few years and is a husband and father of two.

Nina Gold, his wife, said after the Regional Court of Murmansk refused bail for Hewetson:

“Frank has now spent three weeks locked up thousands of miles away from his family. He is accused of an absurd crime which clearly none of the Arctic 30 are guilty of committing. The only thing he is guilty of is participating in an entirely peaceful protest to raise awareness of a cause that he passionately believes in — protecting the planet and the fragile wilderness of the Arctic. He has two teenage children back home who miss him terribly, and not knowing when we’ll be able to see him again is agony.”

23. Alexandra Harris

Devon, United Kingdom
Age: 27

Harris is a digital communications officer who has worked at Greenpeace for two years. Before embarking on the Arctic campaign, her first at Greenpeace, she said she was excited about the chance to see the beauty of the Arctic firsthand.

24. Phil Ball

Oxford, United Kingdom

Ball is a father of three young children, ages 3, 7, and 8 years old. He has been an active member of his local Greenpeace group, in Oxford, since 2007. Ball has campaigned on a range of issues, including forests and sustainable fishing, and in 2008 he went aboard the Rainbow Warrior vessel for its Coal Tour. Hear about why Ball joined the Arctic Sunrise in his own words:

View this video on YouTube

25. Marco Weber


Weber is a member and coach of the Swiss mountaineering team within Greenpeace and also owns a small carpentry company. He has travelled extensively: to Iran and back by bicycle, to North and South America, Asia, and Russia. Weber said he joined the Arctic trip out of a sense of morality, to help make the world a better place.

26. Ana Paula Alminhana Maciel

Crew Member
Porto Alegre, Brazil
Age: 31

Maciel is a 31-year-old biologist and a regular crew member on Greenpeace ships. She has been with Greenpeace since 2006, when she first began volunteering for the organization in Brazil.

27. Colin Russell

Crew Member
Melbourne, Australia
Age: 59

Russell developed his sailing skills while crewing on yacht races to Hobart, and eventually he fell in love with Tasmania, where he moved in 1990 with his wife and baby daughter. In 1999, Colin started working as a radio operator on Greenpeace ships. His first expedition on the Arctic Sunrise vessel was to Antarctica for the anti-whaling campaign.

28. Miguel Hernan Perez Orsi

Crew Member
Age: 40

Orsi was born in Mar del Plata, a large port city on the Atlantic coast of Argentina, and has loved the ocean since he was a child. He joined Greenpeace to work and care for the world’s oceans. Orsi is married and has a daughter, who turned 1 year old the day he was arrested.

29. Iain Rogers

Handout / Reuters

Crew Member
Devon, United Kingdom

Rogers grew up near the Devon seaside and learned to sail on the Exe Estuary. He started sailing with Greenpeace in 2010, hoping to use his training to protect the seas he loves. When not working for Greenpeace, Rogers lives on his boat and works at a boatyard.

30. Peter Henry Willcox

Crew Member
South Norwalk, Connecticut
Age: 60

Willcox has been involved with Greenpeace for over 30 years. When the Rainbow Warrior vessel came to the U.S. for the first time, he volunteered immediately. Willcox has skippered Greenpeace ships since 1981 and was the captain of a ship that was bombed in New Zealand by the French Secret Service in 1985. Willcox is a parent of two teenage daughters. Hear about his role with Greenpeace in his own words:

View this video on YouTube

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