Sailing Vessel Kwai Cleans Up 96 Tonnes of Trash From the Pacific

Image courtesy Ocean Voyages Institute

Published Jul 26, 2022 5:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Ocean Voyages Institute has completed its latest transit of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, collecting 96 tonnes of plastic fishing nets, lines, buoys, trash and other waste from one of the world's largest concentrations of ocean plastic. 

"Keeping our ocean healthy is vital to ocean life and our own health. Our clean up missions give me great hope for the future of our ocean because change is possible." said Mary T. Crowley, the president and founder of the nonprofit. 

Ocean Voyages Institute uses the Kwai, a 130-foot sail freighter, to carry out cleanup missions in the North Pacific. The 2022 mission brings the group’s total to over 692,000 pounds of plastic removed from the ocean since 2009, including 340,000 pounds recovered in 2020 alone. 

All images courtesy of Ocean Voyages Institute

“Many of my crew are from the Pacific Islands, and we all do this good work for our children, so they will benefit from healthy oceans," said Captain Locky MacLean.  “Marine areas cover more than two thirds of our planet and are the main component of our life support system here on Earth, absorbing carbon and generating the very air we breathe, they cannot continue to be taken for granted.”

The effort involves contributions from many nations. Kwai is owned by the government of the Marshall Islands; the crew hails from Republic of the Marshall Islands, USA, Kiribati, Fiji, Canada, South Africa, UK and Germany; and the mission collaborates with researchers from the University of Hawaii. 

The organization's ultimate goal is to remove one million pounds of debris from the North Pacific Gyre. It is designing two more purpose-built sailing cargo vessels for this long-term mission, and hopes to raise funds for their construction.