The “Ocean Summit On Marine Debris” will take place in Newport Rhode Island on May 15, 2015 during a stopover period of the Volvo Ocean Racing around the world sailing regatta. The Volvo Group is sponsoring the Ocean Summit on Marine Debris in an effort to raise awareness about the global problem of marine debris. The event is also sponsored by The Embassy of Sweden, the U.S. State Department, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Sail Newport, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and operating affordable public sailing instruction and attracting new sailors to the sport.
“Marine debris is a significant problem that has a direct impact on oceans, aquatic life and ultimately human health,” said Henry Sténson, executive vice president of Corporate Communications and Sustainability Affairs for the Volvo Group. “One of the core values of the Volvo Group is environmental care, and we are pleased to be one of the sponsors of the Ocean Summit on Marine Debris in order to help bring attention to this important global environmental issue.”
Professor Dennis Nixon, Rhode Island Sea Grant Director for the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, will open and close the event. Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, will introduce a brief film about marine debris, and Charlie Enright, skipper of the Volvo Ocean Race Team Alvimedica, will narrate it. Frostad says the problem has grown exponentially since he first started ocean racing in 1990.
“Our biggest challenge in fighting the pollution of the oceans is ignorance,” Frostad said. “I am honored to be part of the Ocean Summit to help bring more attention to a growing catastrophe that is the responsibility of all of us to reverse.”
Enright is a native of nearby Bristol, Rhode Island. He knows the problem of plastic wastes polluting the world’s oceans first hand from sailing the 38,739 mile around the world race on prior occasions. “Our oceans are our race courses and for the better part of this last year, they’ve been my home. You don’t leave pallets, nets, and plastic bottles lying around your home, so why should we leave them in the ocean?”
Also during the twelve-day stopover, a public celebration will be held which will include a marine exploration zone, activities for children, a food court, close up viewing of the race boats and several sailboat races in and around Newport Harbor. Spectators will crowd the shores along Brenton Point Park in Newport and Beavertail in nearby Jamestown to watch the boats arrive at the end of Leg 6 and again as they begin Leg 7 on their way to Lisbon, Portugal.
The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the world’s most demanding team sporting events. Newport is the only North American stopover during this nine-month race, which began in Alicante, Spain, and will end in Gothenburg, Sweden.