Maersk Signs on to Help Clean up Ocean Plastic
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Offshore services provider Maersk Supply Service has signed onto a project that aims to collect tons of plastic waste littering the world's oceans.
In the comping months, the Denmark based firm will provide marine support to the Dutch nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup, which will install its first cleanup system in the North Pacific as part of the planet’s first large-scale initiative for collection of floating ocean-plastic debris.
Global plastic production has risen steadily since the 1950s. It is estimated that more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic waste now litter all major ocean basins. The Ocean Cleanup, is a globally recognized 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 fall the first offshore cleaning system will be installed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), located 1,200 nautical miles off the coast of San Francisco. The system will be deployed by Maersk Supply Service’s AHTS vessel Maersk Launcher.
“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 utilized within new segments, and to support solving such an important environmental issue,” said Steen S. Karstensen, CEO of Maersk Supply Service.
Departing on September 8, 2018, the system will be delivered 250 nautical miles offshore for a two-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.
“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,” Karstensen said.
Maersk Launcher is currently on charter by DeepGreen, who has released it so that Maersk Supply Service can perform the operation for The Ocean Cleanup. The charter cost of providing the installation vessel for deployment of the first cleanup 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 U.K. and Denmark to San Francisco, as well as providing the containers that will be used for the return to land of the collected plastic.
“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,” said Claus V. Hemmingsen, Vice CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk and CEO of the Energy division.
The Ocean Cleanup’s long-term ambition is to install a fleet of at least 60 floating screens in order to remove 50 percent of the 80,000 tonnes of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch every five years.