Marinas Guardian and the Major Projects Foundation are pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding that will see the two organisations partner on a variety of projects to address the issue of Potentially Polluting Wrecks.
According to an issues brief released by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), there are an estimated 8500 sunken vessels at risk of leaking over 6 billion gallons of oil (https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-brief/marine-pollution-sunken-vessels).
The two organisations have already begun work to accelerate the Major Project Foundation's work to identify, risk assess and ultimately remediate up to 60 sunken vessels in the Pacific Region. This will take up to 9 years with fundraising due to commence imminently.
A second area of focus will be to work with the IUCN to develop a set of global standards governing the treatment of Potentially Polluting Wrecks. The lack of a clearly defined best practice is a major obstacle in ensuring effective action is taken to address this global issue.
Jason Peers, Co- Founder and CEO of Marinas Guardian stated
"Having dived on WWII era wrecks across the Globe since the mid-1980s, I have witnessed the impact of leaking oil from these deteriorating vessels. I have also witnessed how they can develop as amazing hotspots of marine activity. Many also represent an important historical legacy and most are war graves so it is imperative that we protect them whilst we remediate the problem of bunker fuel, ordnance and toxic chemicals to avoid any further calamities. The problem is complex and challenging both from an engineering perspective and also in terms of ownership and liability and clearly funding is needed to now heed the call to arms from the IUCN to recognize the scale of the problem and to develop solutions quickly. Marinas Guardian is delighted to be working with the IUCN and Major Projects Foundation to both accelerate MPFs survey and remediation programme in the Pacific and to develop a Global Standard".
Paul Adams, Director at the Major Projects Foundation, added:
"This is a problem that has been overlooked for far too long. The Potentially Polluting Wrecks of WWII have sat on the ocean floor for almost 80 years and are now starting to break up. The world has now historically agreed to protecting 30% of our oceans with Marine Protected areas (MPAs) by 2030. The prevention of oil spills from these wrecks is consistent with and pre-empts the key aim of the agreement, to reverse the unprecedented destruction of nature. Along with our partners at the South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP), the University of Newcastle (UON) and The Ocean Foundation (TOF), our agreement with Marinas Guardian will greatly assist our current survey programme and help to expedite the remediation of priority wrecks throughout the Pacific.”
To find out more about both Marinas Guardian and the Major Projects Foundation, please visit their websites at www.marinasguardian.org and https://majorprojects.org.au/