The first week of the "Duik de Noordzee Schoon" expedition 2020 has been successful, though impacted by heavy winds.
Multiple days were spent out on wrecks in the Wadden area looking for MSC Zoe trash, other days were cancelled due to wave hights.
Here is a short list of all stuff we found on the seafloor:
Different types of clothing, fishing chairs, electronic kettles, razor blades, cooking pans, belts, bathrobes, blankets (even one with a leopard print, an awkard find underwater I must say..).
The list goes on with a mop, drying racks, flowerpots, mattresses, a boot, tv parts and so on and so forth..
Also, apparently not everything is related to the MSC Zoe disaster. The razor blades have come from another event where a container was lost overboard carrying tens of thousands of razor blades.
Dive team "de Zeester" had already signalled this in 2018 and cleaned up quite a few blades from the wrecks. In 2020 these razor blades are still moving across the seafloor since we still recover them..!
The dive team got a €1000,00 donation from Gillette in 2018 which was happy the razor thousands of blades were removed from the sea even though the shipping company was responsible for the loss of the container and the spill.
Our 2019 expedition in the same area also spent efforts in cleaning up the razor blades. It makes you wonder, what else is still out there making its way across the seafloor and breaking up in even smaller parts?
How many of these disasters can an ecosystem handle? Luckily, discussions on regulations for container vessels using certain areas in the Wadden sea are now ongoing.
The media results of the expedition were pretty good.
Here's the Radio 2 interview (Dutch) with expedition leader Ben Stiefelhagen. Also articles appeared in the news papers Friesch dagblad, Noord Hollands dagblad, Leeuwarder krant, Leidsch dagblad and so on..
National television stations like SBS, Hart van Nederland and RTL Editie NL also covered pieces on the efforts of the NGO Duik de Noordzee Schoon.
On one occasion we spoke to local fisherman Johan Seepma of the OL-5 after he let us know about another piece he had caught in his nets.
Logically the shrimp bottom trawlers have (due to their fishing methods) been forced to remove tons and tons of MSC Zoe rubbish following the 2019 spill too while they did their day to day job.
Here is this weeks container part next to his vessel.
Some no-take zones (and thus off-limits for trawlers) must still hold a lot of trash at this moment. Although we got coordinates of wrecks in these areas, we were not able to reach them, since they are simply too far out for us to dive with the current vessels we use..
One week to go, let's see what we can still remove from the Northsea..