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Arctic oil drilling: Greenpeace plans to monitor Shell Oil with submarines

Katie Medred

The notorious environmental group will be keeping a close eye on Shell this summer. Greenpeace plans to launch a "Save the Arctic" tour from Seattle in the coming weeks.

The tour is fronted by the group's signature vessel the Esperanza. The former Russian issued ice class ship is complete with a warm rainbow paint job and a well meaning crew.

Greenpeace plans to take the Esperanza up the Pacific Coast to Shell's proposed well sites in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Once in Alaskan waters, Esperanza and her crew plan to camp out and watch the modern "Arctic oil rush" unfold.

Included in the observation project are an undisclosed number of submarines. The group plans to use the craft(s) to monitor and document underwater occurrences during Shell's off coast exploration.

A Greenpeace representative told Washington State's Kitsap Sun:

"The crews will be using submarines to document the steep floor and the marine life along with various attributes of the Chukchi Sea. That will be part of a couple-month-long expedition we're undertaking to document the potential impacts of an oil spill in the Arctic and what Shell is doing up there."

Despite the "Save the Arctic" tour's pertinacious attitude the Alaska U.S. District Court has imposed a restriction on how close the group, its ship or sister subs can come to any Shell owned or operated unit.