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How the oceans can clean themselves. Between Hawaii and San Francisco lies the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the largest accumulation zone of ocean plastic. Plastic usage is on the rise and therefore the influx of plastic into the oceans is expected to increase.

The Ocean Cleanup developed the first feasible technology to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. By acting like an artificial coastline passively, the technology concentrates the plastic by orders of magnitude, 100% powered by natural ocean currents. The technology is scheduled to be deployed in 2020.

Andriaki Shipping Co. Ltd. is proud to be supporting The Ocean Cleanup in its technological research and preparation for the deployment of this great initiative.

 B Slat Aerial Expedition event 3 Oct. 16 Large

Boyan Slat speaking at the Aerial Expedition press event at Moffett Airfield in Mountain View California, on October 3, 2016.


1)      Why must we cleanup existing ocean plastic?

Ocean plastic pollution will not go away by itself. Even if plastic could be prevented from entering the oceans, debris would remain and continue to cause damage. Not only are smaller pieces harder to extract, but they are also more harmful than large objects due to bioavailability to small marine creatures.


2)      How are we going to clean up this mess?

The Ocean Cleanup develops technology to collect and extract plastic from the gyres for recycling. Collecting the plastic using ships with nets would be extremely costly, last forever and have a negative environmental footprint in carbon emissions and marine life by-catch. The Ocean Cleanup concept features a network of floating barriers allowing the natural ocean currents to concentrate plastics at a central point, ready for extraction.

To ensure optimization of our engineering operations, all dimensions of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch must be understood. Prior to the start of The Ocean Cleanup, limited information was available about plastic pollution in the gyres and many questions were unanswered. The first step in this process was the Mega Expedition, mapping plastic accumulation over 3.5 million square kilometers and collecting more data on ocean plastic than in the past 40 years combined.

The Mega Expedition allowed us to only measure size classes up to a meter in size but ocean debris can be much larger. To properly quantify larger ocean debris such as ghost nets we completed our Aerial Expedition surveying larger area. Using trained spotters and advanced LiDAR technology, our crew logged thousands of large pieces of plastic. Preliminary results show, there is even more plastic than we expected. The Aerial Expedition and Mega Expedition data will be combined to estimate the amount of plastic floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and will be ready for publication in a scientific journal early 2017.

Rubbish in the Great Garbage Patch during Aerial Expedition Large

A selection of large objects observed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch during the Aerial Expedition.


To begin to test our engineering design, The Ocean Cleanup deployed a prototype in the North Sea, 23km off the coast of The Netherlands to see how it would fare in extreme weather conditions. After two months in the water, the barrier was taken to shore for maintenance and research. The prototype had been subjected to weather conditions far more extreme than found in the Pacific Ocean. After close monitoring and diagnosis, it was clear some modifications needed to be made. Prototype testing is an important step towards creating a fully operational pilot system anticipated to be deployed later this year. A modified version of the prototype will be re-deployed before year-end. 

Installation North Sea Prototype 23 June 16 Large

 Installation North Sea Prototype June 23, 2016.


3)     Next steps

Cleaning the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is possible. We have collected the data to understand what we are about to clean up. After many scale model tests and prototypes, we are expecting to launch the Pilot: the world’s first operational ocean cleanup system, scheduled for deployment in late 2017.

The old story was the best thing that could be done about the plastic pollution problem was to not make it worse. At The Ocean Cleanup that is a rather uninspiring message. We will continue overcoming barriers and develop a system to create a future better than the past.

Find out more on  www.theoceancleanup.com