Over the years some unusual pieces of rubbish have been recovered from the ocean by our Fishing for Litter project. Last week the research vessel, Sanco Scorpio, made their own interesting find.
While doing seismic survey work 129 nautical miles east-north-east of the island of Unst (Shetland) the crew of the Sanco Scorpio found a 250 metre long plastic pipe floating in the open ocean. Rather than leaving the enormous pipe to slowly break up into harmful microplastics, the crew took it on board. In order to stow it and take it to port, the pipe had to be cut up into 50 pieces each approximately 5 metres in length. This was no small task as the pipe was made of 10mm thick heavy duty plastic, measured 90mm in diameter and weighed 680kg. Although the crew searched for any identifying marks/manufacturer data none could be found.
The dismembered pipe was taken to Lerwick Harbour where Lerwick Port Authority had to decide how to dispose of it. Ordinarily the vessel would be billed for disposing of this bulky waste, but port authorities wanted to avoid penalising the Sanco Scorpio for their good deed. Fishing vessels who bring in large items of passively fished waste can have the disposal costs covered by KIMO UK’s Fishing for Litter scheme. Thus Lerwick Port Authority decided to contact Julia Cant, network coordinator for KIMO UK.
In a truly collaborative effort the port authorities, waste disposal company and KIMO UK reached an agreement. Lerwick Port Authority donated staff time and vehicle hire costs, Shetland Island Council’s Waste Management Facility offered a discounted rate for processing the waste and KIMO UK paid for the remainder of the disposal costs.
Stuart Wadley, the Authority’s HSEQ Manager, commented:
Waste materials in the ocean are a serious threat to sealife, the environment and, potentially, shipping. In the ongoing battle to clean up, every little helps – although in this case, not so little! Sanco Scorpio’s crew deserve praise for their efforts and the example set for other vessels. We were pleased to play our part.
KIMO’s Julia Cant said:
This is a pretty amazing result. By working together in a spirit of goodwill we’ve removed a very large and cumbersome piece of marine litter from the ocean for good and at minimal cost. A huge thank-you to everyone involved!
Do you know what this pipe is or where it came from? We would love to hear from anybody who can shed some light on this unusual find. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org