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Plastic ship completes its voyage in Sydney

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Langues :

All the versions of this article: [English] [italiano]


The Plastiki, a boat made of 12,500 plastic bottles, has arrived in Sydney to cheers from hundreds of well-wishers who witnessed the end of her four-month voyage across the Pacific Ocean.

The catamaran, crewed by six, docked at Darling Harbour on Monday morning to emotional scenes as one crew member met his newborn son for the first time.

Vern Moen became a father for the first time on April 22, while he was on board the vessel. He was reunited with his wife and baby after 128 days at sea.

Mr Moen, a documentary maker, said meeting his son for the first time was a "surreal experience".

"Coming onshore and seeing my wife and kid was very emotional," Mr Moen said.

Skipper of the Plastiki David De Rothschild, 31, heir to the Rothschild banking family banking fortune, said he was "totally overwhelmed" by the experience of completing the epic 8000 nautical mile voyage.

"A lot of love and a lot of passion has gone into this," he said upon reaching dock.

"It’s about being curious ... it’s about not being afraid to fail."

The vessel, made from reclaimed soft drink bottles and fully-recyclable plastic, has attracted worldwide attention since she set sail from San Francisco on March 21 to raise awareness about plastic waste in oceans.

The 60-foot (18.3 metre) vessel entered Sydney Harbour about 11.15am (AEST) and was soon surrounded by a small flotilla of boats.

It was towed to Darling Harbour where the tired but ecstatic crew of five men and one woman were hugged by family and friends.

US Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich paid tribute to the crew and their cause to raise awareness of unnecessary plastic waste in oceans.

"The journey of Plastiki is a journey from trash to triumph and the journey of Plastiki is a call to each one of us here in Australia and across the ocean in America to do our part to save this great ocean before it’s too late," he said at Darling Harbour.

Mr De Rothschild said the voyage started off as a "crazy little idea" that came to him after reading a United Nations report that said plastic waste threatening the world’s oceans.

"It was a dream, it was a crazy little dream we threw out there and it became an adventure," he said.

"We need to really engage with the oceans, we need to renurture them, we need to take some responsibility for them."

"Plastiki would now hopefully stand as a metaphor for change", he added.

Despite the small size of the catamaran, the only woman on board, Jo Royle, said there were no "blowouts".

"We got on well," she said.

"But I’m looking forward to a glass of wine and a giggle with my girlfriends."

The Plastiki’s name is a play on the 1947 Kon-Tiki raft used to sail across the Pacific by Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl.

The Plastiki is docked at the Australian National Maritime Museum where it will remain on display for the next month.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

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