Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise departs Russia

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Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise departs Russia
In this photo made available by Greenpeace International on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise departs from Murmansk, Russia after it was held in the port by Russian authorities for eleven months. (AP Photo/ Vladimir Baryshev, Greenpeace International)
In this photo made available by Greenpeace International on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise departs from Murmansk, Russia after it was held in the port by Russian authorities for eleven months. (AP Photo/ Vladimir Baryshev, Greenpeace International)
In this photo made available by the Greenpeace International on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise departs from Murmansk, Russia after it was held in the port by Russian authorities for eleven months. (AP Photo/ Dmitri Sharonov, Greenpeace International)
In this photo made available by the Greenpeace International on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise departs from Murmansk, Russia after it was held in the port by Russian authorities for eleven months. (AP Photo/ Dmitri Sharonov, Greenpeace International)
Finnish Greenpeace activist Sini Saarela, member of the so-called Arctic 30, arrives by train in Helsinki, Finland on Friday Dec. 27, 2013 from St. Petersburg after Russia had granted exit visas to a number of Arctic 30 activists. The Russian Coast Guard arrested the 30 activists and seized their ship Arctic Sunrise after a protest near a Russian government-owned oil rig in the Pechora Sea in September.(AP Photo / LEHTIKUVA / Roni Rekomaa) FINLAND OUT
The five British Greenpeace activists, crew members and video journalist who were part of the 30 Greenpeace activists arrested in the Russian Arctic, pose for the media as they arrive back in London, from left: Anthony Perrett, activist, Kieron Bryan, freelance videographer, Alexandra Harris, activist, Ian Roger, crew member and, Phill Ball, activist, Friday, Dec. 27, 2013. Russian investigators have dropped charges against all but one of the 30 crew of a Greenpeace ship, who were accused of hooliganism following a protest outside a Russian oil rig in the Arctic, the group said Wednesday. The criminal charges against the crew were closed under an amnesty that was passed by the parliament earlier this month, seen by many as an attempt by the Kremlin to dampen the criticism of Russia's human rights record before the Winter Olympics in Sochi in February. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Greenpeace International activist Mannes Ubels of Netherlands jumps holding his passport as he celebrates getting permission to leave Russia, near the Federal Migration Service in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013. Russian investigators have dropped charges against all of the 30 crew of a Greenpeace ship, who were accused of hooliganism following a protest outside a Russian oil rig in the Arctic. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Greenpeace International activists Dima Litvinov of Sweden, right, and Roman Dolgov of Russia pose after being released from a jail in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013. A Russian jail has freed on bail the U.S. captain of a Greenpeace ship and six crew members who were arrested following an anti-oil drilling protest in Arctic waters two months ago. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
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MOSCOW (AP) -- The Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise departed for the Netherlands on Friday nearly a year after Russian authorities seized it during a protest against an oil platform, the Amsterdam-based environmental group said.

The Arctic Sunrise left the northern Russian port city of Murmansk and was headed to Amsterdam, Greenpeace International said.

The ship was seized by Russian authorities in September 2013 during a protest against the offshore oil platform, and the 30 people on board were arrested. Greenpeace opposes the location of the platform, within the Arctic Circle.

The crew and journalists were initially charged with piracy and were held in Russian prisons for months after their arrest near the Prirazlomnaya platform. The charges were later downgraded to hooliganism and they were eventually released shortly before the Sochi Olympics.

Russian authorities notified Greenpeace in early June the ship was to be released, and captain Daniel Rizzotti was allowed onboard on June 27. He said it was in need of repairs.

"An ice-breaker like the Arctic Sunrise normally needs daily maintenance," but had been left unattended after its seizure, he said. "In addition, the navigation, communication and safety equipment had been stripped or destroyed."

His crew spent July making necessary repairs.

Greenpeace said the ship will undergo further repairs after arriving in Amsterdam within several days and will then return to use in its campaign against Arctic drilling as soon as possible.

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