Photo: Courtesy of Maersk Supply Service

Maersk supply vessels to continue ocean plastic clean-up work

Maersk Tender and Maersk Trader, the two Maersk Supply Service anchor-handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels currently supporting The Ocean Cleanup in the Pacific Ocean, have been contracted for an additional year of operations.

plastic
Courtesy of Maersk Supply Service

Since 2018, Maersk Supply Service has project managed and delivered offshore campaigns for The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch green tech non-profit organisation developing and scaling plastic-harvesting technologies to rid the oceans of floating plastic.

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The offshore campaigns have taken place in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world, and have involved towing and trialling The Ocean Cleanup’s plastic-harvesting systems, in order to optimise the systems’ viability and capacity for subsequent scale-ups.

In May 2021, Maersk Supply Service committed a second vessel and crew to the operations for System 002. By October, the teams reached a major milestone, with the vessels returning from a second offshore voyage with proof of technology after a successful trial, which ascertained that The Ocean Cleanup’s System 002 could safely, repetitively, and reliably remove plastic from the oceans.

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System 002 continues to harvest plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in tandem with the onshore development of System 03, a larger version designed to act as the blueprint for future scale-up.

“Ocean health is integral to Maersk Supply Service’s core values and strategy. The oceans hold the key to many of the energy challenges ahead of us and so we believe we have a responsibility to protect and restore ocean health. It is important that we proactively use our marine capabilities to improve ocean health through partnerships and policies, and so we are very pleased to be able to continue our collaboration with The Ocean Cleanup,” Jonas Munch Agerskov, Chief Commercial Officer at Maersk Supply Service, said.

To date, The Ocean Cleanup has collected approximately 67,000 kg of plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

In addition to the vessels and marine support from Maersk Supply Service, A. P. Møller-Maersk also provides logistics support to The Ocean Cleanup, ensuring global end-to-end transport of the project equipment such as the collected ocean plastic and its river cleanup technologies, including the Interceptor Original, the Interceptor Barrier, and the Interceptor Tender.

Every year, around 10 million of plastic waste end up in the seas. Over the past years, the shipping industry has been looking for ways to reduce its plastic footprint and prevent further pollution of the world’s oceans and seas already contaminated with plastic.

French container shipping giant CMA CGM has stopped transporting any plastic waste aboard its ships, demonstrating its commitment to protecting the environment and conserving biodiversity.

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In this context, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and KfW acting on behalf of the German Federal Government recently committed to double the target of the Clean Oceans Initiative, which aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste in oceans.

As disclosed, the initiative decided to raise its target to provide €4 billion (around $4.6 billion) of financing by the end of 2025, instead of the €2 billion (around $2.28 billion) initially expected to be reached by 2023.

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