Post-tsunami research ship coming to Maui

A sobering slice of marine exploration will soon make its way Maui, when the 22-metre sailing research vessel, Sea Dragon, reaches Maui’s Ma’alaea Harbour on June 30 or July 1. The vessel departed the Marshall Islands on the first leg of a research expedition to study the “Western Pacific Garbage Patch”and arrived in Tokyo on May 21. The vessel is now on its second leg of the journey through the North Pacific Gyre to track and investigate material swept out to sea by the 2011 tsunami. When it reaches Maui, it will be greeted by the Maui Ocean Center and various island organizations and cultural stewards. Cultural festivities are planned, including traditional Hawaiian and Japanese ceremonies. The goal of the expedition is to collect samples and study the effects of the plastic pollution and marine debris relative to providing habitat for marine life; the ability of the floating garbage to transport invasive species from one continent to another; and the rate of decomposition for the debris, amongst other observations. (