Just days after Greenpeace released rare footage of the Antarctic seafloor, Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem has dived in a two-person submarine to visit this remote location and call for the creation of a vast Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.

After a two-hour dive to the seabed, at a depth of almost 900ft, near the Antarctic Peninsula, Javier Bardem described the ‘overwhelming variety of colors and life’ in the Antarctic. ‘It is an incredibly important mission to go down and document these species in all their colorful existence and to prove the importance of protecting this unique ocean,’ said Bardem.

Greenpeace is on a three-month expedition to the Antarctic to carry out scientific research, including seafloor submarine dives and sampling for plastic pollution, to highlight the urgent need for the creation of a 700,000 square mile Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary to safeguard species like whales and penguins.

Javier Bardem continued: ‘As soon as we reached the seafloor, I was completely amazed by the overwhelming variety of colors and life all around us. I’m not a biologist, but to find a pink, yellow and green world of corals and sponges at the bottom of the Antarctic Ocean was a real surprise to me.’

‘It was a very relaxed experience, even though I’d expected to become more nervous, as we dived into the deep. It is really impressive to witness the scientific research that is done on this expedition first-hand and I’m just very grateful to be allowed one dive in between the many others where a real Antarctic biologist is in the passenger seat!’

‘To me, an experience like this shows exactly why we need to show respect as human beings. It is an incredibly important mission to go down and document these species in all their colorful existence to prove the importance of protecting a unique ocean that also feeds all the bigger animals in the Antarctic.’

John Hocevar, a Greenpeace US marine biologist who piloted the submarine, said: ‘Being in a two-person submarine with Javier Bardem was awesome. He was a very relaxed passenger, especially considering this was his first dive. He seemed completely awestruck by the whole experience and so was I.’

The proposal for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary has been submitted by the EU and will be considered when the Antarctic Ocean Commission next convenes, in October 2018.

Key findings from the footage gathered from the submarine dives will be shared with the Commission to establish localized protections as well as to strengthen this and other upcoming proposals for marine protection in the Antarctic.

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