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Research vessel travels through Pacific garbage patch

    20121109-5246 CTY SEAMANS The crew of the research vessel the SSV Robert C. Seamans disembarked from their distinctive 134-foot brigantine-rigged sailing oceanographic research vessel at Pier 36, Honolulu Harbor. Emelia DeForce, Chief Scientist of the expedition, and Hawai'i Pacific graduate student Zora McGinnis are two of the scientific crew. McGinnis, an HPU graduate student, conducted her own research project, a visual plastic survey, during the expedition. This is Katy Hunter (left, senior 1st assistant scientist) and Zora McGinnis in the dry lab, showing one of the fish samples they collected during the 39 day expedition. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA. 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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