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Van Oord helps with plastic pollution cleanup

2021-09-21 Charlie Bartlett

inthesameboat21092021 // in_the_same_boat.jpg (181 K)

Van Oord is helping 'In The Same Boat', a coastal plastic pollution NGO, pick up trash along the Norwegian coastline, with volumes averaging around two metric tonnes per day. 

In The Same Boat operates throughout Norway, cleaning beaches and fjords of discarded plastic. As part of this initiative, its team operate several zero-carbon sailing vessels.

Van Oord has supplied funding for the NGO as well as technical support, and organising material assistance to the project in terms of PPE, through suppliers Wijngaarden Veilig Goed and Atlas. Van Oord Superintendent Sven Buis joined the In The Same Boat’s team for a fortnight on a voluntary basis, to collect a daunting amount of plastic – 2 tons every day.

“I was very excited to have been given the opportunity to help in the Same Boat. I had a wonderful, educational but most of all eye-opening experience, said Sven Buis, Superintendent Van Oord. “I did not expect to find so much litter along the coastlines. We have picked up an average of 2,000kg of plastic per day.”

“This is just the beginning of a longer collaboration with NGO In the Same Boat,” Harro Vaags, Sustainability Engineer at Van Oord, told CEDA Industry News. “Besides funding, we will continue to provide manpower, logistical and technical support. After actually collecting plastics ourselves and cooperating with In The Same Boat, we have learned a lot and we are sharing our knowledge to find new solutions. For example, how we can best support Rolf-Ørjan Høgset, board member In The Same Boat, with his daily operations and the logistics of the collected waste afterwards.

“With a Norwegian coastline of more than 25.000km, one can imagine that logistics can be challenging and expensive. Together with Van Oord’s business partner Bergenhus, we are looking into options such as creating plastic collection points along the coastline and funding a sealine coaster that can pick up all the recyclable waste from the collection points once a year.”

“Van Oord feels an obligation to share our maritime expertise and make climate adaptation knowledge and solutions available,” a company spokesperson told CEDA, addressing Van Oord’s wider climate commitments. “For this reason, we have developed our own Climate Adaptation Action Plan. Van Oord intends to achieve our sustainable ambitions by offering future-proof interventions and by reducing our carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050. Currently, approximately 95% of Van Oord’s footprint is linked to our fleet. That is why we make the most progress by investing in the decarbonisation of our vessels. For example, the installation of an advanced combustion conditioning system with hydrogen and methanol to be installed on subsea rock installation vessel Bravenes. We have invested in three brand-new trailing suction hopper dredgers with an LNG installation, which is a cleaner fuel than marine gas oil. Another example is that we have added a unique zero-emission excavator to our earthmoving equipment, based on an electric hydraulic system.”

“We were very happy when Van Oord made contact a few months ago and wanted to help us not only with funding and logistics but also with manpower,” said Rolf-Ørjan Høgset, board member In The Same Boat. “Sharing knowledge and experience with companies like Van Oord and creating awareness is really valuable to our organisation.”