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US Coast Guard Forward Deployed to Arctic for Shell Drilling - State Dep't

© Sputnik / Alexander LiskinBering Strait connecting the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea. Chukotka Autonomous Region
Bering Strait connecting the Chukchi Sea and the Bering Sea. Chukotka Autonomous Region - Sputnik International
The US Coast Guard has forward deployed maritime assets in the Alaskan Arctic during the time Royal Dutch Shell is scheduled to drill for oil, State Department Representative to the Arctic, Admiral Robert Papp, told reporters.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The admiral explained that the Coast Guard assets are intended to compensate for the lack of fixed infrastructure the United States has in the Arctic.

"They [the US Coast Guard] are putting very sophisticated ships and aircraft forward deployed for the duration of Shell’s drilling up in the Arctic," Papp commented on Tuesday.

US Coast Guard tugs tow  the Royal Dutch Shell conical drilling unit Kulluk from Kiliuda Bay near Kodiak Island, Alaska, Feb. 26, 2013 - Sputnik International
Shell Permitted to Conduct Drilling in Arctic - US Interior Department

On Monday, the US Department of Interior officially gave Shell permission to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea.

Critics have raised concerns over Shell’s the ability to respond to an environmental disaster, as well as the limited US search and rescue capabilities in the Arctic.

In the event of an environmental or safety incident, the closest deep water port available to the Shell drilling crew is approximately 900 miles away in Dutch Harbor.

In early July, the US Coast Guard deployed additional resources to the Arctic as part of operation Arctic Shield 2015. The mission was set to encompass a variety of operations within Alaska’s outer continental shelf, a territory spanning thousands of miles.

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