Trash Vortex-Seeking Ship Returns to San Francisco Bay

Project Kaisei's mission: collect, study, recycle

Tuesday, Sep 1, 2009  |  Updated 2:04 PM PDT
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Ship Aims to Track Ocean Trash Vortex

Troy Brajkovich

Kaisei and Horizon

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The 151-foot vessel Kaisei is back in the Bay Area after its exploration of a vortex of floating plastic garbage 1,000 miles out in the Pacific Ocean.

Susie Granados, an administrative assistant with Sausalito-based Ocean Voyages Institute which organized the scientific mission to the North Pacific Gyre, said the Kaisei passed under the Golden Gate Bridge and into San Francisco Bay around 11:30 a.m. Monday.

The ship left Sausalito Aug. 4 to capture some of the marine debris in the North Pacific Gyre northeast of Hawaii and study ways of retrieval and processing techniques to detoxify and recycle the material into diesel fuel.

In her blog posted Sunday, Mary Crowley, founder of the Ocean Voyages Institute and co-founder of Project Kaisei, said, "We all know that plastic lasts. There is no 'away' when we throw plastics away. Every bit of plastic made is still on the planet."

"Mission accomplished, or mission just begun?" Communication liaison John Azzaro writes. "Once our eyes have been opened to the shocking reality of toxic manmade marine debris, how can we turn our attention away from this pressing reality?"

The team will hold a news conference to share more about what they found.

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