Written by: The SeaKeepers Team
The International SeaKeepers Society is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization focusing on the health of the world’s oceans and climate. The International SeaKeepers Society supports marine science and conservation by utilizing yachts as platforms for marine research, educational outreach, and to deploy oceanographic instruments. Our efforts eliminate vessel costs and permit scientists to allocate those funds to maximize research potential.
In June 2017, the SeaKeepers Asia chapter of The International SeaKeepers Society participated in two facets of our DISCOVERY Yachts Program, Education & Outreach with Tasek Jurong Limited and a Community Outreach Expedition for marine clean up and coral rescue. Both of these expeditions took place in the waters off the coast of Singapore.
Education & Outreach
On June 2nd, SeaKeepers Asia hosted fifteen boys from Tasek Jurong Limited aboard D/Y Paraffin for an outreach expedition. Participants learned about marine science, research diving, and local marina efforts to minimize pollution.
Researchers from the Tropical Marine Science Institute of the National University of Singapore lead the discussion on board the D/Y Paraffin, a 60M vessel built by Feadship. This floating classroom session was made possible through the partnership of The International SeaKeepers Society Asia, Rolls Royce, and ONE°15 Marina Sentosa Cove, Singapore.
The lesson focused on teaching the students about Singapore’s changing coastline with its effects on surrounding coral reefs. The 15 boys, aged 9 -12 years old, from Tasek Jurong Ltd. (a non-profit organization in Singapore) completed plankton trawls and viewed the organisms under the microscope. Participants were shown the workings of the navigational equipment on D/Y Paraffin and were given a briefing on how SCUBA diving gear is used as part of marine research performed underwater. The highlight of which was that they had the opportunity to try the dive gear on for size. This half day educational outreach session ended with ONE°15 Marina sharing with the children the measures that they undertake against polluting the surrounding waters via the water discharging services available for vessels berthed at the Marina.
Community Outreach Expedition
On June 4th, 20 volunteer divers set off early Sunday morning from the Republic of Singapore Yacht Club on board the dive boat Dolphin Explorer to Pulau Subar Laut located within the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park. Their mission was to undertake Our Singapore Reefs: Marine Clean Up and Coral Rescue in conjunction with World Oceans Day 2017.
This is the first time such an event has been conducted in the marine park and the objective was to collect and document the marine debris as well as to rescue corals within the park. Covering an area of 1200 sq. m, the participating volunteer divers successfully removed 424 pieces of debris weighing over 72 kgs – which included a car battery, a small anchor, and trolley. All debris were collected and transported back on another vessel the M/Y Lady Olivia to Raffles Marina for proper disposal. The data collected is now available online on Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris® citizen-science program and contributes to the global effort to combat marine debris.
For the second dive, under the guidance of researchers from the Tropical Marine Science Institute, the volunteer divers collected 43 corals that were found dislodged from the reefs or colonies that were dying. These rescued corals were then relocated to the National Parks Board coral tray located within the Marine Park to safeguard the corals.
An essential outcome of the marine cleanup and coral rescue mission was the compilation of data which has since been made available to relevant and interested parties’. The identification of and information about the debris found in the area covered will enable government agencies to develop solutions and measures needed to reduce the amount of debris. In line with the guidelines for recreational diving, the Volunteers were only able to collect the smaller debris, and discussions are now underway with the respective agencies to remove the remaining larger debris that the volunteer divers were unable to clear. The information collected on the corals, provides a baseline for NParks to monitor the health of the corals in that area.
For more information on The International SeaKeepers Society’s DISCOVERY Yachts Program visit http://www.seakeepers.org/what-we-do/discovery-yachts/ or email Programming@seakeepers.org.