Sailing cargo ship departs Honolulu to capture massive amounts of plastic debris
HONOLULU, HI – June 7, 2022 – An ongoing mission to remove plastics from the oceans, led by Ocean Voyages Institute, sets sail on World Oceans Day to the Pacific Gyre from the Hawaiian port of Honolulu, amid emergency climate declarations by several South Pacific Nations, including Vanuatu and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
“The oceans are the lifeblood of our planet and create two out of every three breaths we take” says Mary T. Crowley, President and Founder of Ocean Voyages Institute. “We depend on the oceans for our health and the health of our planet. Our expeditions showcase that solutions to the plastic pollution issue can be achieved now.”
Ocean Voyages Institute, a Sausalito, CA based non-profit organization is utilizing a 140 ft. sustainable sailing cargo vessel to conduct cleanup in the North Pacific Sub-Tropical Convergence Zone. This summer’s mission is to continue removing the proliferating, harmful plastics from the Great Pacific Garbage Gyre. This expedition is building upon the over 500,000 pounds of plastic Ocean Voyages has removed from the ocean, which includes the largest open ocean clean up in history (340,000 pounds in one summer).
The Government of the Marshall Islands, which purchased the vessel KWAI under a new sustainability initiative started at the Paris Climate Accords, has committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 30% by 2025.
The vessel’s Captain, is Locky MacLean, a veteran ocean conservationist and environmental activist, whose previous work includes stopping whaling in the Antarctic, and providing maritime aid to hurricane affected countries in the Caribbean.
“We are grateful to the Republic of the Marshall Islands for being a part of this campaign, as several island Nations declare Climate Emergencies,” says MacLean. “The use of the vessel KWAI, a sustainable sailing cargo ship, assists Ocean Voyages Institute in continuing the removal of plastics from the ocean, which otherwise would break down and hamper ocean plankton’s ability to trap carbon.”
Ocean Voyages Institute’s international crew is composed of professional seamen from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Fiji, Canada, South Africa, UK and Germany. The ship will be at sea for over 40 days, docking to offload nets and plastic debris mid-way through the expedition, prior to embarking on a second leg.
Ocean Voyages Institute uses a wide range of methods, including UAVs, GPS trackers attached to debris and satellite imagery, in order to efficiently recover the debris. Once recovered, plastic and nets are stored in the ship’s cargo hold for proper recycling, up-cycling, and repurposing at the end of the voyage.
Ocean Voyages Institute is a member of a multi-disciplinary group of NASA funded researchers (FloatEco) coordinated by Dr. Nikolai Maximenko from the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s School of Earth and Ocean Science and Technology. This group’s research data adds to understanding the dynamics of floating plastic and its interaction with the marine ecosystem in the open ocean.
Ocean Voyages Institute first started its ocean cleanup initiative in 2009 and has led many successful cleanups including removing 170 tons (340,000 pounds) of marine debris in the North Pacific Gyre in 2020 and over 91,000 pounds in 2019 at sea and along coastal areas during cleanup work around the Hawaiian Islands.
Founder Mary Crowley’s goal to remove 1 million pounds of debris from the North Pacific Gyre is already well underway, and funding is still needed to expand our ocean cleanup effort. To learn more and to donate visit us at www.oceanvoyagesinstitute.org or call our office +1.415.332.4681