Cleanup Device Will Be World’s Largest Floating Structure

By Wendy Laursen 2015-05-29 17:35:46

Boyan Slat, 20-year-old founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup, has announced that the world’s first system to passively clean up plastic pollution from the world’s oceans is to be deployed in 2016.

The array is projected to be deployed in the second quarter of 2016. The feasibility of deployment, off the coast of Tsushima, an island located in the waters between Japan and South-Korea is currently being researched.

The system will span 2,000 meters (6,560 feet), becoming the longest floating structure ever deployed in the ocean (beating the current record of 1,000 meters held by the Tokyo Mega-Float). It will be operational for at least two years, catching plastic pollution before it reaches the shores of the proposed deployment location of Tsushima Island.

The island is evaluating whether the plastic can be used as an alternative energy source.

The scale of the plastic pollution problem, in the case of Tsushima Island, is approximately one cubic meter of pollution per person washed up each year, and this has led the Japanese local government to seek innovative solutions to the problem.

The deployment will represent an important milestone in The Ocean Cleanup’s mission to remove plastic pollution from the world’s oceans. Within five years, after a series of deployments of increasing scale, The Ocean Cleanup plans to deploy a 100 kilometer (62 mile) long system to clean up about half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California.

Slat said: “Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the largest environmental challenges mankind faces today. Not only will this first cleanup array contribute to cleaner waters and coasts but it simultaneously is an essential step towards our goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This deployment will enable us to study the system’s efficiency and durability over time.”

Mega Expedition

In April, the organization announced a Mega Expedition, in which up to 50 vessels will collect more plastic measurements in three weeks than have been collected in the past 40 years combined.

The Mega Expedition will take place in August 2015, and the vessels will cover a 3,500,000 square kilometer area between Hawaii and California in parallel, creating the first high- resolution map of plastic in the Pacific Ocean.

The expedition, an initiative of The Ocean Cleanup, is supported by the Transpac sailing race, which is assisting in the recruitment of vessels. The City of Los Angeles will welcome the expedition to its port by the end of August.

Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles said: “Increasing our scientific understanding of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is essential to developing effective solutions. It’s this type of creative and large-scale thinking that we need to tackle problems like this. We’re proud to be welcoming the Mega Expedition to the Port of Los Angeles this year.”

“When you want to clean the oceans, it is important to know how much plastic is out there,” says Slat. “Right now, estimates vary orders of magnitude, due to the small amount of measurements, which furthermore have been taken over very long period. The Mega Expedition will allow us to produce the first-ever high-resolution estimate of the amount of plastic inside the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and we are grateful for the Mayor’s and Transpac’s support.”

Skippers and vessel owners can still sign up to participate.


International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers

By MarEx 2015-05-29 17:58:22

On the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, May 29, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the invaluable contribution of peacekeeping to the history of the organization and reaffirmed his commitment to improving the effectiveness of “blue helmets” in the coming years.

“Since its beginning in 1948, United Nations peacekeeping has evolved into one of the main tools used by the international community to manage complex crises that threaten international peace and security,” said Mr. Ban in message to mark the Day.

“Throughout its history, the United Nations has established a total of 71 peacekeeping operations. More than one million military, police and civilian personnel have served as U.N. peacekeepers, including 125,000 in the sixteen missions in operation today.” Through years of struggle and sacrifice, the iconic Blue Helmet has earned its place as a symbol of hope to millions of people living in war-ravaged lands.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers is an occasion to salute the peacekeepers of today who serve in some of the world’s most volatile and dangerous environments. It is commemorated each year on 29 May because that that was the date in1948 when the U.N. Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) – the world’s first peacekeeping mission – began operations in Palestine.

“This Day is also a time to mourn fallen peacekeepers,” said Ban. “During its history, more than 3,300 “Blue Helmets” have died devoting their lives to peace, including 126 men and women in 2014.”

To mark the Day at U.N. Headquarters, the Secretary-General participated in a wreath-laying ceremony in the morning, then presided over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal was awarded posthumously to the military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations last year.

Currently, demand for U.N. peacekeeping operations is at an all-time high. Operations receive contributions of military and police personnel from 122 member states.

“United Nations peacekeeping has given life to the U.N. Charter’s aim to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security,” said Ban. “Through years of struggle and sacrifice, the iconic Blue Helmet has earned its place as a symbol of hope to millions of people living in war-ravaged lands.”

In a press conference at headquarters, the Under-Secretaries-General for Peacekeeping and for Field Support, Hervé Ladsous and Atul Khare, also reflected on the service of Blue Helmets who served the U.N. in the cause of peace in what he described as a “difficult world” but one in which there were extensive efforts to adjust to and rise to the expectations of the international community.

“It’s an opportunity to reflect on the nature of the threats that we face on the ground,” said Ladsous, on the evolution of peacekeeping in the modern world. “More than ever our obligation is to improve performance. We improve on performance by the use of up to date technology.”

He said that did not mean merely the use of high-tech equipment like Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) but was about putting a lot more technical means, many of which were available on commercial markets, to improve safety and security.

This idea was echoed by Khare, who also underlined the need for availability of a wide variety of technology to counter the many “grave and asymmetrical” threats faced by peacekeepers as they discharged their complex mandates and he outlined his priorities for his tenure. They were to improve rapidity and proactivity of support, as well as its effectiveness and the efficiency with which it was delivered.

He said he was “truly humbled” to receive the Dag Hammarskjöld medal on behalf of civilian peacekeepers, and noted that of the 126 peacekeepers who died last year, 19 were civilians, which he noted was a large proportion of the total.

“Today is a day for reflection and gratitude for the service of peacekeepers,” he said. “But today is also a day of introspection, of reflection, on the sacrifices that serve as a stark reminder of the massive challenges that we face on the ground every day.”

U.S. Tribute

John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State said:

“Today we honor the service and sacrifice of the courageous men and women serving under the flag of the United Nations with the mission of peace. That mission, which dates back nearly 70 years, is central to the purpose of the United Nations and indispensable to the peace and security of the globe.

“Nearly 130,000 courageous U.N. peacekeepers from 122 countries serve the cause of peace, nearly two-thirds in conflict areas where they operate under robust and demanding mandates often at great personal risk. This is by far the greatest number of active peacekeepers in history – a fact that reflects the steadfast determination of the international community to respond.

“And just as the demand for peacekeeping has grown in recent years, so have the demands placed on those missions. Mission mandates have evolved in critically important ways to address the most pressing needs on the ground, including the protection of civilians. While we ask more of peacekeepers, we as a global community must strive to ensure that they possess the necessary training, tools, support and resources to advance the cause of peace.

“The United States supports such requirements through robust capacity building programs such as the Global Peace Operations Initiative and International Police Peacekeeping Operations Support. We look forward to continuing work with our partners to strengthen U.N. peacekeeping, including at the Summit that President Obama will co-host this fall, on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly high-level week.”


APMT sacks striking dockworkers

APM Terminals (APMT) has fired 130 dockworkers at its general cargo terminal in Callao, Peru, where a strike has been ongoing since 13 May.
According to APMT, the strike involves approximately 600 workers. During the past week, “certain employees have been receiving notification that they’re no

Frontline amends tanker charters

John Fredriksen-led Frontline has announced a major revision to its long-term charter agreements and has reported stronger than expected quarterly results.
Long-term charters for 17 tankers owned by related-party Ship Finance International (SFI) will be amended as of 1 July. Base rates for VLCCs

FE/Europe spot freights slump deeper

Container ship overcapacity in the Asia/Europe trade saw cargo spot rates for westbound headhaul liftings hit another all-time low today.
According to the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index (SCFI), shipments on the Shanghai/North Europe route were this week quoted at just USD342 per teu in the

Great Barrier Reef Kept off UNESCO “Danger” List

By Reuters 2015-05-29 08:38:27

A heritage committee of the UNESCO cultural agency stopped short on Friday of placing Australia’s Great Barrier Reef on an “in danger” list, but raised long-term concerns about its future.

The long-awaited ruling by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee welcomed Australian efforts to maintain the environmentally sensitive region but noted its outlook was “poor” and called on the government to stick rigidly to commitments to protect it.

“Climate change, poor water quality and impacts from coastal development are major threats to the property’s health…,” the statement said after delegates held discussions in the German city in Bonn.

Busy shipping lanes pass through the area and commercial ships are required to hire a special “reef pilot” to navigate through it.

Australia earlier this month said it would more than double an area near the Great Barrier Reef subject to special curbs on shipping by including large areas of the adjacent Coral Sea in the restricted area.

“This decision has been described by some as a reprieve for the Reef. It is not a reprieve – it is a big, red flag from UNESCO,” Shani Tager, Greenpeace Australia Reef campaigner, said of the Heritage Committee decision.

“By insisting that the Australian government prepare a report within 18 months … UNESCO has clearly shown that the Great Barrier Reef is not fine and is not safe in Tony Abbott’s hands,” she said of the Australian prime minister.

In 2010 a Chinese coal carrier ran aground in the Great Barrier Reef, provoking an international outcry.

Since then, there has been renewed concern that development, particularly coal mining in Australia’s northeastern state of Queensland, could endanger the reef.

The UNESCO committee’s ruling has the status of a “draft decision” for further discussion and later confirmation.


NOL completes APL Logistics sale

Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines completed the sale of its logistics business, APL Logistics, to Japan’s Kintetsu World Express on 29 May.
NOL, the parent of liner operator APL, sold the logistics unit for USD1.2 billion.
The sale will enable NOL to raise funds as it works towards restoring

Product tankers face oversupply risk

Although product tanker freight rates remain in positive territory, shipowners should be cautious about newbuilding investments as there are still a number of ships to be delivered, Italian broker Banchero Costa has reported.
Freight rates have been at a five-year high, driven by low crude oil