Willcox, who is 60, along with 27 Crew of Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise" and two freelance photojournalists – the Arctic 30 – have been held in prison above the Arctic Circle, in Murmansk, Russia since their icebreaker was seized by Russian Coast Guard over their protest against offshore oil drilling in the Arctic.
In an Oct. 24 Reuters interview, Willcox relayed word that conditions are harsh in detention.
Following remarks on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 4:00p.m. at Norwalk Cove Marina, 54 Calf Pasture Beach Rd, a flotilla of sailboats with painted sails and banners will proceed at 5:00p.m. from Norwalk to an action at the UN Building.
Martin van Breems, founder and owner of Sound Sailing Center in Norwalk is a friend of Willcox, who works part time as an instructor at the sailing center.
“As a sailor who raced across the Atlantic singlehanded through numerous storms and around the icebergs of the Labrador Current in a collision damaged boat, I have some understanding of what it takes to run and repair a vessel offshore in cold temperatures," said van Breems in a statement. "...Working on oil rig machinery in one of the numerous winter storms, with sub zero temperatures in the darkness, accidents leading to major spills are inevitable.”
"The Russian oil industry already spills about five million tons of oil into the environment every year, due to old or poorly maintained equipment, combined with human error," van Breems added.
According to a recent 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."
This Saturday in Norwalk van Breems, will speak to the difficulty of working offshore in frigid conditions and propose strategies to limit Arctic drilling and increase the likelihood the crew will be brought home promptly. Greenpeace officials will offer updates on the Crew. After the remarks, the flotilla will depart Norwalk Cove Marina.