Shipping industry unites in support of game-changing Eyesea plan to map global oceanic pollution for the first time

Shipping industry unites in support of game-changing Eyesea plan to map global oceanic pollution for the first time

December 9, 2020
Press Release: Eyesea

Shipping leaders have united in their support of pollution mapping initiative Eyesea which was officially launched in the past week

Eyesea, a not-for-profit organization, uses cutting-edge technology and the support of seafarers, ship owners, managers and maritime professionals to collect and process oceanic pollution data. The data is used to build detailed maps and charts 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. That was our start point. 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.”

Approximately 60 commercial ships and a number of superyachts are currently preparing for sea trials of the beta version of the Eyesea app.

The Eyesea 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.

“When we looked into the problem of blue water and coastal marine pollution, we found there was very little global data on the problem,” commented Somerville-Ryan. “There were many assumptions based on small-scale data samples and unicorn-like rumors, but there was very little large-scale data backed up by georeferenced points of interest. It occurred to us that solving the pollution problem was going to be impossible if we didn’t know accurately what was going on and where. Eyesea’s data and maps will empower environmental leaders with actionable, empirical evidence.”

Dentons Kensington Swan (New Zealand) provided a significant pro bono contribution in the setup of the incorporated not-for-profit society and IP protection.

Somerville-Ryan added that he had been overwhelmed by support from the shipping industry.

“Once I explained what I wanted to achieve, the response from the maritime industry was fantastic,” he revealed. “Now we want to build up our support network because, of course, the more ships and crew we have involved the better the data and the more actionable the maps will be.

“Everyone is welcome – it’s a long coast and a big ocean. We can only tackle pollution at sea by getting everyone involved, helping with whatever part they can.”

Somerville-Ryan believes Eyesea is an opportunity for seafarers and the wider shipping community that cares so deeply about the environmental health of the oceans to take meaningful action.

“Our people are in a unique position to observe, first-hand, the impact of human activity on the oceans,” he added. “But there is a sense of frustration from those who sail that there is nothing they can do about the things they see. Eyesea gives seafarers a different role – they can now be the ‘eyes of the ocean’, its protectors.”

Plastic Free World Conference & Expo 2021 will be co-located with The Greener Manufacturing Show and will take place at Cologne Messe, Germany, on Wednesday 16 June and Thursday 17 June 2021. Registrations for this highly focused, solutions-driven event will open in early 2021. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email [email protected]

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