Shipping Industry Joins First Effort Mapping Ocean Pollution

mapping ocean pollution with data from shipping
Ocean pollution -photo from Eyesea

Published Dec 7, 2020 4:56 PM by The Maritime Executive

A first of its kind effort is uniting technology and the resources of the shipping industry to collect pollution data and build comprehensive maps designed to inform and empower government and NGO environmental efforts. Launched by the not-for-profit organization Eyesea, seafarers, ship owners, managers and maritime professionals are pledging to support the initiative collecting data that Eyesea will process and analyze. 

Approximately 60 commercial ships and several superyachts are currently preparing for sea trials of the beta version of the Eyesea app, the nonprofit announced. The reporting tool allows seafarers to collect and submit data on marine pollution by simply taking a photo and categorizing the pollution type. Images are then automatically GPS-tagged, anonymized, and vetted before being incorporated into a comprehensive database of pollution to enable Eyesea to create detailed oceanic maps and charts. The results will be made available free of charge to governments, clean-up groups, researchers, local authorities and a range of other stakeholders, enabling them to take targeted clean-up action and make evidence-based policy decisions.

“With the full support of the shipping community, we believe Eyesea is a game-changer for global maritime pollution,” said Eyesea founder, Graeme Somerville-Ryan. “Everyone from shipping involved in this project wants to tackle marine pollution in a more systematic and qualitative way than is currently possible. The solution we settled on was to create the first-ever global database of oceanic pollution. By identifying and tracking patterns of pollution over time, stakeholders will also be able to focus resources and policies to improve prevention.”

Somerville-Ryan said he had been overwhelmed by support from the shipping industry. The development of the Eyesea reporting technology was funded by ChartWorld, a provider of digital navigation technology. Dentons Kensington Swan (New Zealand) also provided a pro bono contribution in the setup of the incorporated not-for-profit society and IP protection.

Eyesea reported that further announcements will be made over the coming month regarding companies involved in the initiatives and the results of the early data collection.