Planktos Ship Appears in Bermuda
After backing down to Sea Shepherd and canceling their plans to dump iron ore dust near the Galapagos Islands this last summer, things became very quiet for Planktos and their bizarre scheme to make money off carbon trading by dumping iron ore dust into the ocean to artificially stimulate plankton blooms in order to increase plankton populations so as to absorb more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
This last week-end the Planktos flagship Weatherbird II appeared inBermuda. What it is doing in Saint Georges harbour is a mystery. There is no iron ore dust onboard and they intend to head back to sea this week-end. The crew of the Weatherbird II which includes CEO Russ George a former Greenpeacer were surprised to discover that the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat was also in Bermuda berthed at the opposite end of the island at Dockyard.
Because of an on-going investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency the Weatherbird II did not load iron ore dust in the United States. Loading material from the U.S. for the purpose of ocean dumping is illegal. Speculation is that the ship is looking to obtain the material in a non U.S. port. It certainly is not available in Bermuda so the ship will most likely be heading towards Europe or possibly Canada considering it left Miami and headed Northeast. The crew said they would be heading Southeast, however if you're going Northeast and did not want anyone to know, you would naturally say Southeast. If your intention is to go Southeast from Miami, then Bermuda is not a waypoint.
Sea Shepherd did discover that they are looking to obtain iron dust from ground-up scrap. This contradicts their earlier report that they would be using virgin iron ore dust. The problem with scrap is that it also contains oils, impurities, and alloys and this could have an adverse effect upon plankton. Passing out little bags of dust one crewmember cautioned that it could be contaminated because they had it for a few months on board. She said, ""If you get it tested it's probably contaminated because we've had this bag for several months now."
Amusingly this conversation was overheard on deck;
Russ George: I heard that Sea Shepherd is here.
Deckhand: Yeah, I heard that rumor.
Unidentified Tourist: What are they? Like Greenpeace?
Deckhand: Kind of. But more radical. More extreme.
Russ George: They've threatened to ram and sink us.
A clarification is needed here. At no time did Sea Shepherd ever threaten to ram and sink the Weatherbird II. Last July and August with the Farley Mowat in the Galapagos, Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson said that Sea Shepherd would be working closely with the Galapagos National Park and the Ecuadorian National Environmental Police to intervene against any attempts by Planktos to dump iron ore dust off the Galapagos. Last month Planktos representative Michael Bailey gave a presentation to the Galapagos National Park and the Darwin Research Centre. The presentation did not address the environmental concerns by the rangers and the scientists and they were not impressed. The Galapagos National Park wants no part of this bizarre scheme.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society continues to work in cooperation with the Galapagos National Park, the Ecuadorian National Environmental Police and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to monitor and oppose Planktos plans.
"This is just a snake oil approach to solving the problem of global warming and it is nothing more than a scheme to make a profit from carbon trading," said Captain Paul Watson. "They have not done their science and they are experimenting at the possible expense of the marine eco-system. We have no intention of sinking their ship, this is just Planktos trying to present us as radical for opposing them. It is Planktos that is radical because dumping ore dust at sea is a violation of the international ocean dumping regulations. Yet all Russ George has to say is that any criticism of his project is anti-science even when most credible scientists oppose the plan as it stands now."
Side view of Planktos ship
Side view of Planktos ship
Front view of Planktos ship
Planktos uses this (minus the galley mats)
to take samples of water at various
depths for their studies
A small sample of the type of dust
Planktos will be dropping
Planktos will use these 300 gallon drums to mix
the dust with seawater before
dispersing it into the ocean