Portsmouth bound cruise ship in Arctic Ocean beach clean up

By Cruise

The passengers and crew of a cruise ship bound for Portsmouth International Port have been involved in an ‘ocean rescue’ – cleaning a beautiful Arctic beach of plastic waste that threatened local wildlife.

Noble Caledonia’s expedition ship MS Hebridean Sky was in Svalbad, when it became clear the beach was covered in discarded fishing gear.  Pam Le Noury, head of expedition field operations for Noble Caledonia, immediately put a plan in place and led passengers ashore on the clean-up mission.

Portsmouth bound cruise ship in Arctic Ocean beach clean up
Caption: Noble Caledonia’s expedition ship MS Hebridean Sky - Image courtesy of Portsmouth Port

Pam said “Fishing gear is the type of rubbish most commonly found on beaches in Svalbad. This can, of course, endanger the local fauna by entangling them, especially as more and more seabirds are picking up plastic and nylon nets for nesting material.”

Sadly, it seems, the emergency clean-up is not a one off. Noble Caledonia says its passengers often pick up smaller amounts of discarded waste in wilderness areas and bring it back to the ship for safe disposal. In instances like this though more than a few handfuls were gathered, and a large pile was taken back to MS Hebridean Sky for storage before reaching the next port of call.

Ocean plastic is one of the biggest threats to marine life, with massive areas of oceans around the world covered in bags, bottles and micro sized beads. Pam Le Nouroy reflects that you can often find pristine beaches covered in garbage and fears the worst.

Pam explains: “An unseen threat posed by ocean plastic is its ingestion by animals, and ultimately by humans. The end game is micro plastics being ingested by all manner of organisms and working up the food chain, bio accumulating until they are quite harmful to top predators - ourselves included.”

This summer Portsmouth International Port has been asking cruise and ferry passengers to make a pledge to change personal behaviour to help protect the oceans. As part of an exhibition that highlights the work of Portsmouth based marine wildlife charity ORCA, people are being asked to commit to either taking a reusable water bottle to work or school; recycling as much plastic as they can; make an effort to buy food with less packaging; or using a bag for life instead of grabbing a disposable one.

Hebridean Sky arrived at Portsmouth International Port on 31 August, the same day as Serenissima, another of Noble Caledonia’s luxury small ships. Noble Caledonia is a popular operator at Portsmouth international Port, specialising in “Explorer Cruises” that take passengers close to some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, areas that often can’t be reached by larger cruise liners.

Source: Portsmouth Port