A Cuban solution the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Sssv semi submersible to tackle great pacific garbage patch banner

Hot on the heels of Bluebird Marine Systems unveiling of the SeaVax (below) at the Innovate UK 2015 Exhibition, Diveplanit can confirm that work is well-progressed on a completely different design of ‘sea vacuum cleaner’ on the other side of the planet.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch a solar powered robotic solution is proposed in the UK

The new concept for cleaning up the world’s oceans is reportedly being developed by a consortium working in Havana, with financial backing from London City’s MiSix Group. Based on a novel concept by a Prof. G Greene, the project lead, Dr Wormold, a polymath and marine engineer, is proposing a large semi-submersible vessel dubbed the SSSV or Semi-Submersible Sea Vax.

Technical details are still confidential, but apparently being semi (and fully)-submersible reduces many of the downsides of the existing surface vessel designs:

  • it’s not exposed to the elements;
  • it’s not a danger to commercial marine traffic;
  • it can capture more of the plastic – most of which contrary to popular belief, does not float on the surface.

Unlike a surface ship, it doesn’t need to worry about the volume of plastic captured, because it doesn’t need to carry it like cargo as a floating barge would; it is still held, contained in a large expanding bag inside the vessel below the surface of the water. It actually acts as part of its ballast.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch a semi-submersible solution is proposed

In a brief press release, the consortium secretary Beatrice Severn is quoted as saying “A small prototype has successfully completed sea trials … the only remaining impediment to building a fully operational device is the power source.” The active marine power drive apparently works like the large paddle wheels on the side of a steamboat, though obviously in reverse. London is said to be “very excited” by the progress.

Filed by our Diveplanit Correspondent, with additional reporting by Our Man in Havana.