Intermodal Weekly Market Report, Tuesday 20th December 2016, Week 51

Market insight By Sophie Cotzias
Managing Director
Cotzias Intermodal Shipping Inc.

Cleaning the Oceans from PLASTIC

2016 is coming to a close and it finds us in preparation for the 2017 enforcement of the Ballast Water Treatment Systems. We naturally are in thought and preparation of the necessary cleaning of the ocean waters, which we utilize for the ballasting of our vessels. The cleanliness, or rather the not-so-cleanliness, of our Seas has become an issue in our business minds as well as our environmental consciousness.

An admirable young Dutch man, Boyan Slat, has triggered a viral interest and after a TEDx Talk and a huge crowdfunding campaign, more than 40,000 people from 160 countries donated in excess of 2.2 million Euros, for his plans to help deal with the growing environmental issue of Ocean plastic.  He recently had the ‘North Sea Prototype’ -which investigates the survivability of the design- installed with the involvement of Boskalis. This has deployed a 100 meter-long barrier segment in the North Sea and it will remain there, for a year, testing this system in open waters for the first time. It has now been in place since June 2016.

The so called ‘Ghost nets’ are discarded fishing nets, many meters in diameter, notorious for ensnaring sea life and ship propellers. After the North Sea prototype, the intention is to carry out an aerial survey, conducting visuals over the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also creating ‘3D images of ghost nets which can be up to 80 meters and weigh up to a ton!’  Boyan Slat explains: “We are also preparing the pilot project where the main focus of our engineering team is how the Ocean Cleanup Array (possibly  up to 100 km) can be kept at its location and anchored to the seabed in a cost effective manner and in such massive depths (the ocean is 4.5 km deep at the planned site). It is important to stress that this barrier is very different from an oil boom, which is only used for a few days – the Ocean Cleanup Array has to be in place for 10 years!”

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