A RESEARCH vessel has uncovered a 250-metre long plastic pipe floating in the open ocean to the north east of Unst.
The Sanco Scorpio made the find last week while carrying out seismic survey work 129 nautical miles from Unst.
Rather than leaving the pipe to slowly break up into harmful microplastics, the crew took it on board.
It had to be cut up into 50 pieces of approximately five metres so that it could be stowed on board and taken ashore to Lerwick.
This was described as “no small task” with the pipe consisting of 10mm thick heavy-duty plastic, weighing some 680 kilograms. No identifying marks were found on the pipe.
Marine environmental organisation KIMO worked with Lerwick Port Authority (LPA) and Shetland Islands Council (SIC) to dispose of the dismembered pipe.
Usually a vessel would be billed for disposing of such bulky waste, but the LPA wanted to “avoid penalising the Sanco Scorpio for their good deed”, and decided to get in touch with KIMO, which under its Fishing for Litter scheme can step in to pay for disposal of waste dredged up by fishing vessels.
As a result the LPA donated staff time and vehicle hire costs, the SIC’s waste management team offered a discounted rate for processing the waste and KIMO paid for the remainder of the disposal costs.
Julia Cant of KIMO 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!’
Lerwick Port Authority HSEQ manager Stuart Wadley said: “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.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 530 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News