'Plastiki' bottle ship completes epic Pacific voyage

26th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

A boat crafted from thousands of empty plastic bottles sailed into Sydney Harbour on Monday, completing an epic trans-Pacific voyage to highlight the benefits of recycling.

The "Plastiki" catamaran, which is made from 12,500 bottles and is the brainchild of an heir to Britain's Rothschild banking fortune, was greeted by hundreds of well-wishers as it ended the 15,000-kilometre (9,000-mile) journey.

"It's totally overwhelming," said skipper David de Rothschild, the banking scion and environmentalist. "We're so excited to be here."

The Plastiki, which takes its name from Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition from South America to Polynesia on a raft of balsa husks, set off from San Francisco in March.

The boat, carrying six crew, travelled through a waste-strewn area of the north Pacific and made stops in the Line Islands, Western Samoa and French territory New Caledonia before leaving for Australia.

The Plastiki's bottles are lashed to pontoons and held together with recyclable plastic and glue made from cashew nut husks and sugarcane, while its sails are also made from recycled plastic.

The crew also relied on renewable energy including solar panels, wind and propeller turbines and bicyle-powered electricity generators, and used water recycled from urine.

© 2010 AFP

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