The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Molly Dorozenski, 917-864-3724,
Joe Smyth, 831-566-5647,

Greenpeace Launches Three-Month Ship Expedition to Investigate Oil Disaster Impacts to Gulf of Mexico

Arctic Sunrise ship will support independent scientists' research into impacts of oil and chemical dispersants on Gulf marine life


Greenpeace today launched a three-month ship
expedition to support independent research into the impacts of the Gulf
oil disaster on marine life, as well as researching the unique
environments and marine life that are at risk. The ship departs from St.
Petersburg, Florida tomorrow and will visit the Florida Keys and the
Dry Tortugas before approaching the well-head this month, examining
everything from the plankton on the surface to the subsurface plumes, to
the deep sea corals on the floor of the Gulf.

"From the very start, the full scope of the Gulf oil disaster has
been obscured by BP and even our own government," said John Hocevar,
Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaign Director, "The largest accidental oil
spill in history and the unprecedented use of chemical dispersants will
impact Gulf marine life for years to come, and independent research is
critical to ensure that BP is not allowed to hide what they have done
or walk away from their responsibilities."

On the expedition,
the MY Arctic Sunrise will host independent scientists who will be
researching the impacts of oil and chemical dispersants on Gulf
ecosystems and marine life. Charles Messing and Jose Lopez from Nova
Southeastern University will be on board looking at sponges as
bioindicators; since they filter large quantities of water, they are
useful for looking at sublethal impacts of oil and dispersants. Later
in August, Tulane University researchers Caz Taylor and Erin Grey will
conduct plankton tows in order to assess the status and health of blue
crab larvae, while gathering data that will enable researchers to look
at impacts on larval bluefin tuna, red snapper, and other species of
ecological or economic importance. Additional scientists will join the
expedition in September.

"The Gulf of Mexico has been subjected
to a massive experiment, and we all deserve to know the full scope of
the damage that the oil industry has caused," said Paul Horsman, marine
biologist and oil expert who will also join the expedition. Horsman
has responded to oil spills around the world since 1979, and is now the
campaign director for the Global Campaign for Climate Action.

MY Arctic Sunrise is a 50-meter long icebreaker purchased by
Greenpeace in 1995. Since then, it has peacefully protested whaling in
the Southern Ocean and documented the impacts of climate change at the
poles. In 2009 the ship hosted scientists studying Petermann Glacier in
northwest Greenland, which calved an ice island four times the size of
Manhattan in August 2010.

Supporters can follow the Arctic Sunrise throughout the Gulf expedition online at The website features a map that tracks the location and updates from the ship including photos, video, blogs, and Twitter.

Greenpeace is calling for:
immediate ban on new offshore drilling and exploration of all
high-risk unconventional oil sources (including in the Arctic and from
tar sands); an end to fossil fuel subsidies and an increase in support
for clean energy; and strong laws and policies that limit global
warming and stimulate a clean energy revolution.

Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

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