諾地加號是兩艘由芬蘭政府所有，並與殼牌公司簽約的破冰船之一，目前正打算前往阿拉斯加入其姊妹船芬尼加號（Fennica）的行列，以支援兩艘正前往阿拉斯加北部海域的石油探勘船庫魯克號（Kulluk）和諾保發現者號（Noble Discoverer）。後兩船將在今年夏天幫殼牌公司於楚科奇海（Chukchi Sea）和波福海（Beaufort Sea）鑽探五口鑽油井。
殼牌公司在提出針對美國內政部安全和環境執法局（Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, BSEE）要求之最遭狀況應對方案後拿到了許可。方案內容包含相當於該公司先前計劃五倍糟糕情況的應對措施，包括遭遇惡劣的天候條件，以及發展專用設備和策略，以避免情況失控和漏油。
Greenpeace Nordic activists today boarded and occupied a Shell-contracted icebreaker in Helsinki harbor as it was preparing to leave for the Alaskan Arctic.
At 10:30 this morning, 20 activists from 13 different countries boarded the icebreaker Nordica and locked themselves down throughout the ship, from the cabins to the top of the mast.
"We are calling on the oil giant Shell to abandon its controversial plans to open up the fragile Arctic for oil drilling," Greenpeace said today in a statement protesting the first major offshore drilling in the Arctic since the early 1990s.
A letter on the Greenpeace website appealing to Shell to refrain from oil expoitation in the Arctic has been signed by 391,958 people to date.
The Nordica is one of two Shell-contracted icebreakers owned by the Finnish government. It is heading to Alaska to join its sister ship, the Fennica, to support the Kulluk and Noble Discoverer, the two drilling vessels en route to the north coast of Alaska to drill five exploratory wells for Shell in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas later this summer.
Shell has said it intends to begin drilling in the two neighboring seas on or about July 10 and continue until just before ice forms this autumn.
Shell has proposed drilling up to six wells in the Chukchi Sea during the next two summer open water seasons within the Burger Prospect, located about 70 miles off the coast in about 140 feet of water.
The Obama administration on February 17 approved Shell's oil spill response plan for drilling exploratory wells in the Chukchi Sea.
The approval was granted after the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, BSEE, required Shell to prepare for a worst case discharge nearly five times that of their previous plan, to include planning for adverse weather conditions, and to develop special equipment and strategies that could respond to a loss of well control and a spill.
On March 28, the BSEE approved Shell's oil spill response plan for the Beaufort Sea.
Shell has spent nearly $4 billion and five years preparing to drill in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. The company plans to halt drilling operations during the late summer hunt for bowhead whales by native Alaskans.
Shell is the first major international oil company to make exploitation of the Arctic a serious corporate focus. If it strikes oil this summer, other global oil giants will quickly follow and spark a dangerous Arctic oil rush, the campaign group warns.
"For the first time in our history we are faced with the possibility of a world without ice at the North Pole, without a home for polar bears, narwhals and walrus," said Greenpeace today. "It is fundamentally wrong that Shell is making money drilling for more of the oil that has caused this melting in the first place."