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Research vessel travels through Pacific garbage patch

By Gary Kubota

LAST UPDATED: 5:15 p.m. HST, Nov 9, 2012

A marine education vessel arrived in Honolulu today after collecting more than 70,000 pieces of plastic debris as it traveled from San Diego to Hawaii.

The SSV Robert C. Seamans also found potential Japan tsunami debris, including a refrigerator, a dock, and half a boat.

Researchers aboard were gathering information about the concentration of plastic and how it affects marine life. The vessel traveled to the area known as the”Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

Chief scientist Emelia DeForce said information about the location of the debris will be passed on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in its effort to track marine debris.

Hawaii Pacific University graduate student Zora McGinnis also conducted research on plastic debris during the voyage.

The expedition was funded by the Sea Education Association, which offers educational programs at sea for students and teachers.

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