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Blog Marine Autonomy Helps Operators Clean Up Ocean Plastics Faster, Cheaper

February 25, 2019

During the Ocean Plastic Forum’s meeting last week in Copenhagen, Sea Machines’ Peter Holm, European director, had the opportunity to explain how marine autonomy makes the clean-up of ocean pollution faster and more cost-effective, especially within the 12-mile zones of coastal countries. Because autonomous vessels are able to collect pollutants, such as ocean plastics, for longer periods of time than traditionally manned vessels and the boats can be programmed to run on computer-optimized routes, mariners who take advantage of autonomous-command and remote-control vessel technologies can collect more pollutants in less time. Holm noted that faster operations also mean more whole plastics can be collected before the natural environment converts them to micro-plastics, which are harder to collect.

The environmental benefits of removing more plastic from the ocean faster are clear, but Holm also pointed out the significant cost savings that autonomy adds to vessel operations. In particular, Sea Machines products significantly reduce workboats’ operational costs via saved time, resources and lowered crew expenses. With the company’s products installed on board, vessel routes are data-driven and can be pre-programmed for maximum productivity. Further, the well-being of crews must be considered: Sea Machines reduces operator risk, mitigates human error due to fatigue or distraction, and can eliminate crew exposure in dangerous environments.

Holm closed the presentation by discussing the functionality Sea Machines adds, including pre-programmed, waypoint following; methodical survey routes, which optimize clean-ups in large, open waterways; and collaborative following, which provides a force-multiplier effect as two or more vessels to work together autonomously or via remote control.

The Ocean Plastic Forum is a Danish initiative established in 2017 by a number of local companies and organizations. It gives Blue Denmark industry leaders, such as Sea Machines, the opportunity to periodically come together to discuss solutions that can remove plastic pollution from our seas in a financially viable way. Sea Machines is a proud member of the Ocean Plastic Forum.