An environmental NGO has acquired the marine version of a refuse truck. Żibel, a non-profit NGO committed to countering marine debris, especially ocean plastics, has acquired a specially equipped boat thanks to funding by The Alfred Mizzi Foundation.
The NGO said it will use the boat to remove debris encountered along the Maltese coastline and for activities related to research on the presence of micro-plastics.
The Żibel Boat joins a number of sea-bins which the NGO is installing around the coast.
The vessel was custom-built locally by Buccaneer Boats and is powered by a 225HP Suzuki outboard. It incorporates a side-mounted winch to assist in lifting divers’ mesh bags during clean-ups. The winch can lift loads of up to 650kg.
The Alfred Mizzi Foundation also funded a Manta Net – a specialised net designed to capture the smallest of micro-plastics as it is towed behind the boat.
Chris Briffa, an administrator at The Alfred Mizzi Foundation said that the foundation was always on the lookout for opportunities to invest its funds in and was impressed by the Żibel set up, its aims and achievements.
Early next year Żibel will be issuing calls for applicants to man the vessel and conduct work throughout the year, with a target of being on the water 200 days per year.
These operations are the first of its kind in Malta, providing the NGO with valuable data for academics and policymakers, content for education and social media, and much-needed assistance during monthly clean-ups.