Plastic pollution at sea is hampering ship operations

Plastic pollution at sea is becoming so severe that many clogged ships are unable to operate at full capacity.

Graeme Somerville-Ryan, the founder of ocean plastic mapping initiative Eyesea, detailed via LinkedIn how a number of contacts have been in touch about ships struggling to operate as plastic builds up in various parts of the machinery on board.

Citing an example with images (see above), Somerville-Ryan showed how a container ship was unable to move at full speed or operate a full reefer container capacity due to overheating strainers in the container. clogged cooler. The vessel pictured was trading between South Asia and the Gulf at the time. Somerville-Ryan said Splash he has since been contacted by a number of maritime contacts who have reported that it is a regular and growing problem. The problem is most acute off the coast of East Africa, he said.

In a lengthy thread following Somerville-Ryan’s post, an assistant engineer commented, “This phenomenon of coolers clogging with plastic and other trash more frequently near ports is only getting worse in some parts. of the world.”

Southeast Asian ports were also considered a plastic pollution hotspot by readers of Somerville-Ryan’s post.

Somerville-Ryan founded Eyesea two years ago to map and track plastic in the world’s oceans, engaging shipping companies, sailors and the general public. This week, German clothing manufacturer GOT BAG became the first non-shipping company to join the Eyesea initiative. In 2016, GOT BAG began sourcing ocean-impacting plastic, recycling it, and turning it into backpacks.

Eyesea has now collected over 120,000 data points from over 65 countries and territories.

Bryce K. Locke