Environmental campaign crew rescued from capsized MOD70

Published on September 14th, 2015

(September 14, 2015) – On her way from Palau to Chagos Islands, in the Indian Ocean, the MOD70 trimaran “Race for Water” capsized on Saturday night, 90 miles south east from the Chagos Archipelago. Thanks to the assistance of the military base in Diego Garcia, the crew was rescued today at 6:00 a.m. by the Pacific Marlin, a ship from the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The crews of both the Pacific Marlin and the “Race for Water” are currently attempting in difficult conditions to right the trimaran.

Commander Edward Lees, Commissioner’s Representative and Commander British Forces of Diego Garcia explained the operation, “A number of UK and US assets were deployed to assist with this complex incident; these included USNS Seay, military personnel, and the M/V Pacific Marlin. The crew are now safe onboard the Pacific Marlin and discussions are on-going regarding the rendering of further assistance”.

Stève Ravussin, skipper of the expedition, explains about the difficult sailing conditions they were experiencing in the area, “The conditions have been really difficult for a few days, as often is the case in the Indian Ocean. Big swell, high waves, and the fact that the crew were tired after the 32,000 miles (Note: already more than a normal round the world course) that we have already travelled were some of the factors that triggered the unfortunate accident. The crew is safe and we all agree on the fact that the expedition must continue. My priority is now to retrieve the trimaran.”

The crew has been working for several hours already on the recuperation of the boat off the coast of the Archipelago of Chagos, in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

The trimaran was sailing around the world as part of the environmental expedition « Race for Water Odyssey », a project to make a first global assessment of plastic pollution in the oceans, by visiting islands located in the centre of trash concentration zones. The Odyssey has completed 11 stopovers so far and has collected a considerable amount of data in the North Atlantic, South Pacific and North Pacific trash accumulation zones. Quantitative analyses are currently in progress but preliminary results already show one clear thing – this pollution is a real environmental disaster everywhere.

Despite the accident, the project is not called into question, as Marco Simeoni, President of the Race for Water Foundation and expedition leader, explains:

“This accident is shocking and disappointing for all of us. However, it is crucial to continue the fight against this environmental and global disaster. The Odyssey is not called into question and its goals – on the one hand to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the oceans among the general public and on the other hand to get an understanding of the issue thanks to various scientific and sociological analyses – remain. We may have lost our boat ambassador but our determination and motivation are stronger than ever.”

Remaining stopovers of the expedition are to be maintained, but the program will be modified during the stopovers to come: Rodrigues (September 23 to 30), Cape Town (October 12 to 18), Rio (November 4 to 12) and Bordeaux. Onsite, the onshore team will continue to sample beaches (in Rodrigues) as well as organize activities to raise awareness of the problem thanks to school presentations, meetings with scientists, exhibitions and other events to alert local populations on the urgency to act to preserve our oceans.

About the Race for Water Odyssey
Initiated by the Race for Water foundation, the “Race for Water Odyssey” is a unique expedition that aims to draw up the first global assessment of plastic pollution in the ocean by visiting island beaches situated in the 5 trash vortexes. In less than 300 days, over 40,000 nautical miles will be traveled, punctuated by 11 scientific stopovers and 9 outreach stopovers, involving a total of 13 countries. The objective of the expedition is twofold: on the one hand, the goal is to compile a human and environmental assessment of the current state of plastic pollution in the oceans, thanks to scientific and sociological investigations. On the other hand, the expedition wants to raise awareness about the issue of plastic pollution in the ocean in order to bring together the general public, industries, and legislators together against this issue. The Race for Water Odyssey benefits from the support of ISAF, Duke University, Oregon State University, senseFly, Swisscom and Swissnex.

About the Race for Water Foundation
The Race for Water Foundation is a charity dedicated to preserving water. Today, water is under severe threat because of plastic pollution and it must be protected. The Foundation aims to bring together the general public, institutions, scientists and decision-makers to fight this pollution that is spoiling our oceans, by initiating programs in three main areas: research, awareness and solutions. To this end, the Race for Water Foundation collaborates with such renowned organizations as UNESCO, UNEP, IUCN, WWF, and WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development).

Further updates will be posted on the website when available: www.raceforwater.org

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