Ocean Voyages Institute hauls in record 103 tons of trash from Pacific Ocean
By Nina Wu
The Ocean Voyages Institute this morning pulled into Pier 29 in Honolulu with more than 100 tons of marine trash hauled from the middle of the Pacific Ocean, mission completed despite the ongoing pandemic.
The Sausalito, Calf.-based nonprofit once again chartered the locally-based, sailing cargo ship Kwai for the 48-day expedition that set out in early May.
Crews early this morning unloaded the trash — 103 tons of it — from the ship, heralding it as a record amount ever to be collected from within the depths and surface of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
“I am so proud of our hard working crew,” said founder and executive director Mary Crowley in a statement. “We exceeded our goal of capturing 100 tons of toxic consumer plastics and derelict ‘ghost’ nets, and in these challenging times, we are continuing to help restore the health of our ocean, which influences our own health and the health of the planet.”
On last year’s expedition, the institute deployed GPS-enabled satellite beacons, drones and other technology to better track the debris in the ocean, and has found it plays a key role in more effectively removing it. The beacons were placed on nets with the help of crowd-sourced yachts and other commercial vessels, based on Crowley’s theory that one tracker leads to other nets.
Crowley, herself a lifelong sailor, was hoping to launch a considerably larger expedition this year, with more vessels over a three-month period, but had to scale back due to the impacts of the pandemic.
The Kwai, led by Capt. Brad Ives, nevertheless embarked on the expedition, departing from Hilo on May 4 after a self-imposed quarantine of three weeks.
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