OVI today announced an initiative to build two custom-designed sailing cargo ships as a prototype for a global ocean cleanup fleet.

SAUSALITO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, May 30, 2023– Ocean Voyages Institute (OVI), a leader in the cleanup of the North Pacific Gyre, also known as “the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” today announced an initiative to build two custom-designed sailing cargo ships for OVI’s ongoing ocean cleanup of plastics. The new ships are prototypes for a global fleet of sisterships for ocean cleanup missions.

“Our custom-designed sailing cargo ships will be the first in a global fleet of purpose-built ocean cleanup vessels,” said Mary T. Crowley, Founder and President of Ocean Voyages Institute. “Over the last four years, we have validated the effectiveness of our ocean cleanup missions using GPS satellite trackers and a low-carbon emitting 140-foot sailing cargo ship. Our next steps are to build on our success in the Gyre and to expand our ocean cleanup initiative globally.”

OVI’s at-sea cleanup is removing massive amounts of ghost fishing nets and consumer plastics from the North Pacific Gyre. In 2020, Ocean Voyages Institute completed the largest open ocean cleanup in history. With continuing expeditions over the last four years, OVI has removed and repurposed, upcycled and recycled, nearly 800,000 pounds of plastics from our ocean.

OVI is honored to announce that it has received a lead corporate donation from Hawaii-based MATSON Navigation Company in the campaign to build and operate two sailing ocean cleanup ships.

Matt Cox, Matson’s chairman and CEO, said: “The scope and urgency of the problem of ocean plastics demands action on many fronts, and we believe OVI’s proven method for removing plastics from the ocean efficiently and sustainably is a scalable, viable global solution. Matson is proud to support this project, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with OVI to advance its important work in the Pacific in the years to come.”

Wind Powered Ships Designed for Sustainable Missions

Having its own ships operating year-round will enable Ocean Voyages Institute to expand beyond summer cleanups in the North Pacific Gyre area to missions in many island areas of the Pacific. OVI will also be addressing the proliferating plastic problems in Panama, Costa Rica, Columbia and the Galapagos Archipelago regions, focusing on removal of the large accumulations of plastics as well as clean ups within Marine Protected Areas.

Partnership with Holland Design

Leading OVI’s new build team is the world-renowned Vancouver-based design studio, Ron Holland Design. With a rich portfolio of exceptional creations, the de-sign team at Ron Holland Design has established a legacy that continues to capti-vate the yachting world. Among their remarkable designs is the awe-inspiring 247′ S/Y MIRABELLA V, which held the record for the world’s tallest mast, reaching an impressive height of 290′. Another notable masterpiece is the environmentally conscious 190′ S/Y ETHEREAL, crafted with a strong focus on sustainability.

In addition, Ocean Voyages Institute has an amazing network of designers, naval architects, engineers, Captains, and ship operators collaborating to create the pur-pose-built sailing cleanup vessels.

Using sailing ships and wind power with a range of new technologies that include specialized camera equipment, drones, satellites, and modern methods for debris removal, will allow these ships to be sustainable and cutting-edge for efficient plastic removal.

We will select among global organizations who wish to receive the ship designs and be part of creating a worldwide fleet focused on ocean cleanup. We will col-laborate and consult with these organizations to share our technologies and meth-ods. This global fleet of cleanup ships will effectively tackle the urgent issue of ocean pollution on a scale commensurate with the problem.

Opportunities for Corporations and Major Donors

Ocean Voyages Institute has received funding from family foundations, maritime businesses, corporations, and individuals, all people who care about restoration of our global ocean and realize the importance of taking care of the health of our planet and our own heath by keeping our ocean healthy.

“MATSON Navigation was the first shipping company to support our Gyre clean-up missions and assist us with transportation of our plastics to recyclers and up-cyclers,” added Ms. Crowley. “Each and every donor becomes an Ocean Hero by assisting us with our removal of plastics to restore our ocean habitat.”

To learn more and/or make a donation, please visit www.oceanvoyagesinstitute.org or call the Ocean Voyages Institute’s office +1.415.332.4681 to talk with Mary Crowley or any of our team.


Sausalito, CA-based Ocean Voyages Institute (OVI), is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded by Mary T. Crowley. It has provided sail training programs throughout the world’s oceans and engaged with high school and college classrooms providing time at sea to study marine biology and ocean sciences. Its goals are preservation of the ocean environment, the maritime arts and sciences and island cultures.

In 2009, OVI began ocean clean-up initiatives in the Pacific on board a 150’ brigantine. Ocean Voyages Institute currently holds the record for removing the most plastics from the North Pacific Gyre. Adding more ships to its efforts will increase the yearly amounts of plastics being removed from our ocean. Ocean Voyages Institute have received numerous awards, including United Nations (UNEP): “Climate Hero Award,” a Google Inc.: “Earth Hero Award” and the Asia Pacific 2009 PR Awards “Award of Excellence.”


Mary founded OVI and was the first to advocate to re-purpose and innovate proven maritime equipment for ocean cleanup missions. Mary has logged over 125,000 miles at sea and has received numerous awards for environmental achievements, sailing expeditions, educational programs and historical voyages. Her most recent award was presented at the New York Yacht Club on March 4, 2023, by the Cruising Club of America. The inaugural Diana Russell award recognized Mary for innovation in using sailing vessels to conduct cleanup of plastic pollution.

Other awards include VOIP (Netherlands) “Environmental Achievement Award,” Society of Women Geographers “Outstanding Achievement Award,” San Diego Maritime Education & Technology: “Environmental Leadership Award,” 2019 Hawaii Senate “Guardians of our Ocean” Award, and the Marin Board of Supervisors “Exceptional Marine Research & Activism” Award.

Eleanor Kerlow
Eleanor Kerlow PR
+1 301-335-8141
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