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Greenpeace shadows Shell drilling vessels bound for Arctic Alaska

Alaska Dispatch

As Shell's drilling vessels make their way to Arctic waters to begin exploring for oil off the shores of Alaska, Greenpeace will be following close behind to monitor the oil company's activities, The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports.

The trip is part of Greenpeace’s “Save the Arctic” campaign. The environmental group stopped in Kodiak to discuss its journey with the U.S. Coast Guard, including its plans to deploy two small submarines.

"With everything, especially in the Arctic, what we're looking to achieve is safety for life at sea for everybody on the water. Our dialogue with Greenpeace isn't any different than it is with Shell," Coast Guard Capt. Gregory Sanial told The Kodiak Daily Mirror.

Greenpeace plans to shadow Shell's vessels as they travel north; probably a better strategy than boarding a drilling rig in protest. Greenpeace's submarines will be dispatched to explore the Bering Sea’s marine canyons, the groups says. One will carry a single person, the other two people.

Greenpeace's Arctic campaigner Jackie Dragon said the group's intent for the subs “is to document that pristine environment in places that no submarine-manned expeditions have been before and to bring back to the world images," according to The Kodiak Daily Mirror.

But it is this part of the mission that had Capt. Sanial worried: "I did explain to them that the Coast Guard has no capability to rescue that submarine," he told the The Kodiak Daily Mirror. "If it gets in trouble at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, there is very little the Coast Guard can do."