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Shell asks court to force Greenpeace activists off drilling ship

Royal Dutch Shell filed a federal lawsuit to force six Greenpeace activists off a drilling ship heading to Alaska for offshore drilling.

Shell filed for the order Tuesday, a day after Greenpeace activists boarded the Blue Marlin, which is towing Transocean’s Polar Pioneer drilling rig under contract for Shell.

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It is one of two rigs Shell is bringing to an area of the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. If Shell obtains the right federal permits, it plans to drill an exploratory oil and gas well there this summer.

Greenpeace opposes offshore drilling, especially in the treacherous waters around Alaska, where a Shell rig ran aground in 2012 after the company pushed the limits of the summer drilling season.

The group is tracking the entire mission in the Pacific Ocean on the Web as the activists post updates of their progress.

But Shell said the activists are breaking the law and endangering themselves and contractors.

“These acts are far from peaceful demonstrations,” Shell spokeswoman Kelly Op De Weegh said in a statement. “Boarding a moving vessel on the high seas is extremely dangerous and jeopardizes the safety of all concerned, including both the people working aboard and the protestors themselves.”

Shell is asking the federal court for an injunction that would prevent activists from boarding its ship, airplanes or contracted vessels throughout its Alaska program.