The Copernicus Marine Service is the voyage sponsor for the 2nd Leg of eXXpedition, an all-female research crew, investigating the North Atlantic Gyre, from Azores to Antigua, for 23 days (October 27th – November 18th). Mercator Ocean International also serves as a scientific partner, offering expertise.
A skipper and ocean advocate, Emily Penn has spent the last decade exploring plastic pollution from the tropics to the Arctic. She is currently leading an all-female crew embarked on a two-year sailing eXXpedition around the world. Their mission? To investigate the causes of and to find solutions to ocean plastic debris and microplastics.
“The plastic pollution challenge our ocean faces is a global one and it will take an inspired army of passionate, skilled and experienced people to tackle it,” said Emily Penn, mission Director and co-founder of eXXpedition. This “army” is now real and it includes 300 international multidisciplinary women aged between 18 and 57, and representing over 30 nationalities. Their diverse backgrounds include scientists, community leaders, academics, artists, filmmakers, business women, psychologists, doctors, actors, ocean activists and sustainability professionals, and novice as well as experienced sailors.
The eXXpedition Round the World voyage set sail from Plymouth, UK, on October 8th 2019, and is heading to some of the most important and diverse marine environments on the planet for a 38,000 nautical miles journey. Beyond contributing to cutting-edge scientific research, the mission aims to celebrate women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), exploration and sailing while creating a powerful global network of Ambassadors. The goal is to use their experience at-sea when back on dry land as leaders in their respective fields, helping to end the flow of plastics into our ocean.
Leg 2 of the expedition will start in São Miguel, where the crew will join a local environmental group to explore some of the island’s issues of marine debris and plastic waste. As part of the partnership, the Copernicus Marine Service will provide drift maps used to track and forecast the movement of plastic debris and waste. The crew will then spend 18 days at sea sailing across the Atlantic Ocean from the Azores to Antigua, an island in the West Indies. The route will enable the crew to take in the North Atlantic Gyre, one of the five main plastic accumulation zones on our planet and a key focal point of the “Round the World” mission, led by an onboard expert to collect scientific data and discuss solutions to the issue of marine plastic. Antigua, a low-lying island with many beautiful beaches and fragile coral reef ecosystems fringing its shores, will provide the crew with a good setting to share their story and raise awareness of the plastic pollution issue and solutions.