The Manta is the flagship project of The SeaCleaners. It is a giant ship designed to collect, treat and repurpose large volumes of floating plastic debris present in highly polluted waters, along the coasts, in estuaries and in the mouths of large rivers, before it disperses and enters the marine ecosystem. After months of research and development starting in 2019, the final design of the Manta has finally been unveiled. Its construction will start in 2022, while its first field mission will be launched in 2024.
The ship will be 56.5 metres long, 26 metres wide (46 metres wide with outriggers) and 62 meters high, and will weigh 1800 tonnes. It will operate autonomously 75% of the time without fossil fuels, through 1500 square metres of sails installed on automated rigging, together with an electrical motor powered by on-board renewable energy production equipment (two wind turbines, hydro-generators and photovoltaic solar panels).
Operating mainly in Asia, Africa and South America, it will collect between 5 000 and 10 000 tonnes of debris per year, at a rate of 1 to 3 tonnes per hour, including macro-waste and smaller debris from 10 millimetres upwards. It will include four different collection methods: inclined conveyor belts under the ship, two small decontamination boats embarked on-board the Manta (the Mobula 8 and the Mobula 10), three floatable collection systems, and two cranes for larger debris. When collected, waste will be manually sorted according to its material. While metal, glass and aluminium waste will be stored for recycling in onshore waste management plants, plastic waste will be converted into electricity through pyrolysis in the Manta’s on-board repurposing plant.
In addition to its collection activities, the Manta will disseminate solutions for plastic waste management and clean shipping in the countries it visits, it will receive the public aboard for awareness and educational purposes, and it will host international scientific missions thanks to its on-board research facilities.
The Manta will help battle the scourge of marine pollution. Every year, between 9 and 12 million tonnes of plastic pollution are dumped into the ocean, and at the current rate, the amount of plastic in the seas will triple in the next 20 years. 1.5 million animals die each year because of plastic pollution.