MOSCOW — Russia, unexpectedly and without explanation, plans to transfer 30 crew members of a Greenpeace International ship from a detention center in the far northern city of Murmansk to a jail in St. Petersburg, the organization said Friday.
The reason for transferring the detainees, who have been held since their ship was seized Sept. 19 after an open seas protest against oil drilling in the Arctic, was not immediately clear, and a spokesman for Russia’s prison system declined to comment. In a statement, Greenpeace said it also did not know the reason for the transfers.
The move came after the authorities in Murmansk completed charging the 30 people who were aboard the ship, the Arctic Sunrise, with hooliganism, a crime punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Greenpeace noted earlier Friday that, technically, all remain charged with the initial and graver crime of piracy.