Thursday, August 16, 2018

War on Ocean Plastic Starts as Shipping Giant Backs Clearance Efforts

First Salvoes Fired in What May be a Long War on Pollution
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – Cleaning the world's oceans of plastic detritus is a subject we have returned to many times and the Netherlands is emerging as one of the countries dedicating itself to leading the charge with recycling and ocean clearance initiatives from such as The Ocean Cleanup which is now to receive support from none other than major shipping giant the Maersk organisation.

Maersk Supply Service will in the coming months provide marine support to the Dutch non-profit outfit that is developing advanced technologies to rid the oceans from plastic, and install their first clean up system in the North Pacific, a method using complex technologies and illustrated in this video. This moment will mark the start of the World’s first large-scale initiative for collection of floating ocean-plastic debris.

Global plastic production has risen steadily since the 1950’s with, as an unintended result, an estimated of over 5 trillion pieces of plastic waste now littering all major ocean basins. The Ocean Cleanup, is a globally recognised front-runner addressing the problem of plastic pollution, having developed a solution in the form of long floating screens to collect plastic debris for recycling.

This autumn the first offshore cleaning system, in a partnership between The Ocean Cleanup and Maersk Supply Services, will be installed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), located 1200 nautical miles off the coast of San Francisco. The system will be deployed by Maersk Supply Service’s AHTS vessel Maersk Launcher. Steen S. Karstensen, CEO of Maersk Supply Service, observed:

“We are truly proud to be supporting the installation of The Ocean Cleanup’s first system. Large towing operations have been a part of Maersk Supply Service’s work-scope for decades. It is rewarding to see that our marine capabilities can be utilised within new segments, and to support solving such an important environmental issue.

“Part of Maersk Supply Service’s strategy is to diversify its business and use its technical capabilities in new areas outside traditional oil and gas. With recently announced other new partnerships in innovative fields with DeepGreen and with Vestas Wind Systems , this collaboration with The Ocean Cleanup is a confirmation we are taking important steps in this direction.”

Departing on September 8, 2018, the system will be delivered 250 nautical miles offshore for a 2-week sea trial before towage to the final deployment location at the GPGP. Maersk Supply Service will in addition to the towing and installation, be monitoring The Ocean Cleanup’s System 001. Total duration of the campaign is expected to be 60 days.

Maersk Launcher is currently on charter by DeepGreen, which has released it so that Maersk Supply Service can perform the latest planned operation. The charter cost of providing the installation vessel for deployment of the first clean up system is shared between A.P. Moller - Maersk and DeepGreen. The total contribution to The Ocean Cleanup project is around $2 million in vessel services and equipment which also includes providing transportation of equipment needed for the installation of Cleanup System 001, from the UK and Denmark to San Francisco, as well as providing the containers that will be used for the return to land of the collected plastic.

The Ocean Cleanup’s long-term ambition is to install a fleet of at least 60 floating screens in order to remove 50% of the 80,000 tonnes of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch every 5 years. Claus V. Hemmingsen, Vice CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk and CEO of the Energy division, said:

“Maersk contributes to the protection of the ocean environment through enhancing the sustainability of all our activities both at sea and on land. In addition to always taking great care that our operations do not pollute the oceans with plastic, we are also very pleased to take part in the world’s first major collection of plastics from the ocean. As a responsible maritime operator, we are committed to ensuring that the oceans can remain a healthy environment for generations to come.”