11/20/2013 07:13 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Greenpeace Captain Held In Russia Granted Bail; 15 Activists Released So Far

OLGA MALTSEVA via Getty Images

ST PETERSBURG, Russia, Nov 20 (Reuters) - A Russian court granted bail on Wednesday to the American captain of a Greenpeace ship that was used in a protest against Arctic oil drilling in which 30 people were detained.

Courts in the city of St Petersburg, where the 28 activists and two journalists were taken last week, have so far granted bail to 15 people.

The captain, Peter Willcox, 60, has been a Greenpeace activist for more than 30 years and was the skipper of the environmental advocacy group's ship Rainbow Warrior when it was blown up and sunk by the French secret service in 1985.

The court set his bail at 2 million roubles ($61,100).

Greenpeace, which says the Sept. 18 protest was meant to draw attention to the impact of offshore Arctic drilling on the environment, said it had already posted bail for nine of those detained. During the protest, some of the activists tried to scale an oil platform.

All 30 face seven years in jail if convicted on hooligan charges in a case that has fuelled Western criticism of President Vladimir Putin. ($1 = 32.7265 Russian roubles) (Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova, Writing by Thomas Grove)