Maersk Supply Service AHTS Selected to Deploy World’s First Large-Scale Ocean Plastic Cleanup System

The Ocean Cleanup System Deployment
Credit: Maersk Supply Service / The Ocean Cleanup

Maersk Supply Service has signed on to support The Ocean Cleanup, the Dutch non-profit that is developing technology to clean the ocean of plastic waste.

For their role in the project, Maersk Supply Service will provide its AHTS, Maersk Launcher, to deploy and support the first cleanup system, known as Cleanup System 001, in the North Pacific. This will mark the start of the world’s first large-scale initiative for the collection of floating ocean-plastic debris.

Global plastic production has risen steadily since the 1950’s. Today, it is estimated that more than 5 trillions pieces of plastic waster are now littering all major ocean basics. The Ocean Cleanup, recognized as a global front-runner to address the problem of plastic pollution, has developed a solution that uses long floating screens to collect plastic debris for recycling.

This fall, the first offshore cleaning system is due to be installed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located roughly 1,200 nautical miles off the coast of California.

“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 Services.

Departing on September 8, 2018, the system will be delivered 250 nautical mils offshore as part of a 2-week sea trial before towage to the final location at the Garbage Patch, where it will continue to monitor the system. The total duration of the campaign is expected to be 60 days.

For Maersk Supply Service, the partnership comes as the company is trying to diversify its business into new areas outside traditional oil and gas.

“With recently announced other new partnerships in innovative fields with DeepGreen and with Vestas Wind Systems, the collaboration with The Ocean Cleanup is confirmation we are taking important steps in this direction,” said Karstensen.

Maersk Luncher 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 installation for deployment of the first cleanup will be 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 equipment need 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 of the collected plastic to land.

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 estimated 80,000 tonnes of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch every 5 years.

A video showing how The Ocean Cleanup’s system works is below: