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Conservation group to probe Gulf oil spill effects

Oceana, an international organization focused on ocean conservation, launched its 2010 Gulf of Mexico expedition, which will assess the long-term effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Oceana will use remotely operated vehicles, specialized divers and satellite tags to investigate the effects of oil in the Gulf on coral, fish, shark and other marine species.

Oceana also will document areas that could be in danger if the oil is captured by sea currents and transported toward South Florida or if another oil spill occurs in this area in the future.

Oceana has chartered the Oceana Latitude, a 170-foot vessel capable of sailing in both shallow and deep waters, with the aid of a Mares 43 Cat adapted to serve as a diving platform.

"The Deepwater disaster is a horrible experiment on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem," said oceanographer Xavier Pastor, vice president of Oceana Europe, in a statement. "Oceana's expedition will help to answer important questions about what is happening under the water in the Gulf."

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