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Discovery Bay Marina Turns Away Conservation Boat

During this entire cleanup operation I have been amazed at the generosity and understanding of the people. Everyone has bent over backwards to help wherever they can with whatever they have.

But sadly this run of good will had to reach an end…and it did when we went to the Discovery Bay Marina Club!!

Knowing that we’d be operating in Chi Ma Wan area, and having our boat based in Aberdeen, this would mean long journey’s, lots of fuel and most importantly time wasted when we could be where the boat is needed the most. So for this reason, I decided as a DB Resident, to call the Discovery Bay Marina Club to see about leaving the boat overnight in the safety of their marina. Sounds perfect!

I called and asked about leaving the small 5 meter RIB overnight for Saturday. I explained that we were part of the cleanup operation for the pellets and that we needed to have the boat closer to where we need it. “No problem,” said the guy on the phone, “we have plenty of space!” With a typhoon in the area, I asked that if it goes up to a T3 would we be able to stay for Sunday night as well, because the insurance for the boat is not valid if we take it out in a T3. Again, “absolutely no problem!” Just dock the boat and come up to the front desk, bring you license and registration as well as copy of the insurance he told me. I said we’d be arriving at about 5pm on Saturday! Sorted.

So all booked up, we had a great day of cleaning in Chi Ma Wan and returned to DB Marina Club as specified just before 5pm. This is when we are told that we cannot stay the night!!

When I asked why? I was told “because T1 and our policy is no visiting boats if the Typhoon signal is up!” I explained that I had called and made a booking and we’ve now driven all the way from Aberdeen to stay here!

Sorry, club policy! You cannot stay. I asked them to call the manager and ask him, whilst I called everyone else, Hong Kong Resorts and DB City Management. Neither would overpower the ridiculous decision made by DB Marina Club and I could not believe that they were going to turn me away, a paying customer, when they had plenty of spaces free.

I argued for 30 mins, then waited 30 mins more. The sun was going down fast, and I didn’t want to have to drive back to Aberdeen in the dark! So I begged some more but they didn’t budge!

Enough was enough, I decided to leave and head back to Aberdeen while I still could in daylight. Fuming at this absolute nonsense, bureaucratic bullshit!! I told them that this would be a very bad PR mistake, but they didn’t seem to care.

So I head back at full speed, burning fuel and time. Upon arriving in Aberdeen, whilst lifting the boat out of the water, I receive a call from Tracey. She had just received a call from DB Marina saying that I could now stay……….too late by a long while!

Maybe drop them a line if you think they were out of order. dbmc-reception@dbmc.hk

The whole issue cost us over 5 hours in time and $500 in extra fuel as well is not having the safety cover on site until well after 11am.

While everyone else in Hong Kong has been so helpful, Discovery Bay Marina Club went out of their way to hamper and delay the clean up operation. Shocking to think their members are all ocean lovers, yet the club itself cares nothing for the environment!

DB Marina Club, you disgust me!

 

Another Weekend on Pellet Patrol !

One week is rolling into the next as we enter the 5th week of the Plastic Pellet Spill cleanup operations. This past weekend we were conducting clean up operations in the Chi Ma Wan peninsula area with Eco-Marine and Coordinate4U as well as the mighty force of Lamma Corner/GreenPower who brought another ferry full of beach cleaners over to hit the beaches in a large way!

I was providing safety/first aid cover from the RIB. With so many people, spread across so many isolated beaches even the logistics of getting everyone to the beach with cleaning equipment and food/water was a challenge, however everyone just got on with it and up until now I haven’t heard a single person complain.

Between ferrying people and supplies back and forth we also checked out the rocky areas between beaches, nudging the boat into rocky outcrops and deploying our spider sensed Merrin, who with the grace of a gazelle leaped from rock to rock checking for pellets. We found another two full sacks, each containing 1.1 million pellets that won’t be getting into the environment.

The commitment of the volunteers again ceases to amaze me as they toil in the baking sun cleaning our beaches and saving marine wildlife with every pellet they remove!!

With my boat based in Aberdeen it is a long journey to Chi Ma Wan, so I made plans for the weekend…..but that’s a separate blog post!!!!

 

Big players on the beach today…

What a day, and it’s only Thursday!

Kevin, Tracey and I started early as we had lots of visitors arriving in Discovery Bay today. First was an advance party from Sinopec who Kevin led to Cheung Sha Lan beach. They were followed after by Tracey with Sinopec’s Chairman Fu Chengyu, who had flown down from Beijing to meet us and follow up with his team on the ground here for a progress report and to see what else could be done. Then I arrived with another team….literally!

Kitchee SC, one of Hong Kong’s premier football teams called and said that they wanted to do their training session on the beach…..cleaning it. The team have just returned from training in Spain ready to start the HK season next week, so Ken Ng the teams manager thought the guys could help us out, and they certainly did.

While Kitchee SC were working hard at one end of the beach we had a great talk with Chairman Fu at the other end. He thanked us for all we’ve done so far and told us how impressed he was with the incredible show of support from the people of Hong Kong to help fix the problem as fast as possible. We discussed what’s next, and he re-iterated the long term commitment Sinopec will be making, to help with our future plans for the environment. The nicest thing of all was that I could tell he genuinely meant every word. With people like Chairman Fu and his team, I have seen a glimmer of hope for the future and our environment.

Sinopec have taken their CSR promise and commitment to the max. They have shown that they are leaders in Corporate Social Responsibility, and the myth that the west has of irresponsible corporates in China couldn’t be further from the truth. Many of the leading western corporations should take a leaf out of Sinopec’s book.

Th - August 23, 2012 - 10:20 pm

This a great update Gary. Thanks for the great pics. The Football team and the Sinopec team could`t be more different yet they pulled together on the same day. What heroes.
Roz

Olya - August 26, 2012 - 4:40 pm

Good effort and well done!
And I hope that those matching T-shirts were not printed just for this event and then dumped in the bin.

The PLASTIC REVOLUTION is in full swing

All photos ©Gary Stokes

What a crazy couple of weeks. Haven’t even had time to post anything to the blog!! Been flying recon flights with the GFS trying to locate the 6th Container, still no luck. We visited the fish farmers several times and spoke with them in detail. They had fish with pellets for a few days, but these fish have since died, and there are no more nurdles for the stock to eat so he is finding less and less.We also had the privilege of a UK film crew that are making a documentary movie on the plastic oceans that will be out next year, as well as constant FB updates, maps, updated maps and updated-updated maps. We now know almost every beach and rocky inlet along the HK coastline, and more importantly, we know where the nurdles are, and as importantly are not!!!

The one element in this incredible universal jigsaw puzzle (containing the HK Gov’t Depts, a collection of leading NGO’s and a State Owned Petro Chemical Company SINOPEC) is the Hong Kong people and the amazing spirit that can only be found here around the Fragrant Harbour! The shear determination and commitment to get the job done has been astounding. We have seen families with members as young as 2 and as old as 82 (maybe older). We have corporations calling daily, a football team, banks, clubs and many more groups of people who want to help out and CLEAN OUR BEACHES.

It started because of nurdles, however it’s grown much bigger than that now. People are coming to remote beaches they’d never have been too, seen the beauty of our wild Hong Kong and seen the trash. I had someone laughing after finding a toothbrush and asking, “how the hell did that get here?” EXACTLY…….people are now starting to question why and how. Why are we trashing our nature world, and how the hell did our trash end up here?

The PLASTIC REVOLUTION has begun, and I am so happy it has started here, in our beloved Hong Kong. The world is watching, and we will set an example for others to follow!

I also had a proposition this week from Tracey. Not that kind of proposition!!!! Tracey has asked me to join her in establishing her new NGO called www.PlasticFreeSeas.org and I was very flattered. Our initial team of three for the Plastic Disaster (Tracey, Kevin & I) worked well, as we each had something to bring to the table with different skill sets. Moving forward to the next stages of the pellet clean up and beyond, I look forward to taking on the battle against plastic side by side with Tracey who I believe will make a massive difference, and with the help of the Hong Kong Government, Sinopec and all the other allies we’ve made we stand to make history together with you all, but we will need your support!

 

Guga - August 22, 2012 - 2:01 am

Hello there, you are really doing well, best wishes for you guys. I would love to do the same in the country I am from, but it needs a time to organize, which I don’t have:( good luck

Stephan B. Reisig - September 7, 2012 - 9:04 pm

GREAT PLAN:

The Dutch Super trawler Margiris should go to the Pacific Ocean to clean up The Great Pacific Garbage Patch and several other plastic-islands with its mega-nets!!!
Afterwards it transports all this scooped-up plastic to several relatively nearby plastic-recycling-factories, which transform all the plastic garbage into re-usable products.
Financed by Shell and other mega-oil-companies (+ international Crowd-Funding )! The profit-margin of the owners of the Margiris won’t diminish and it wil serve the public interest for a change!!!!
And it will set a good example for other mònster-mega-trawler fishing companies around the globe. Nobles Oblige !!!

Day god only knows…..It’s all rolling into one…

Spent the past few days conducting aerial recon flights with the GFS (Government Flying Service). Some of the most professional pilots I’ve met, and the nicest! GFS have been operating 3 recon flights a day monitoring the coastlines and searching for the last container of pellets. On the 9th Aug we covered Peng Chau, Chi Ma Wan, far west Lantau and the Soko Islands. Yesterday we covered the East Coast of HK down to Shek O, across to Beaufort Island where we buzzed the WWF team that were operating there. Then off to Po Toi, Waglan, Tung Lung and Clearwater Bay before returning back home. Upon touch down I rushed to the waiting taxi and joined Tracey, my brother and son before racing to Aberdeen to pick up the RIB again.

We headed out in choppy seas to Beaufort Island where we met up briefly with the WWF HK team accompanied by Sinopec and two of their Industrial Vacuum Cleaners and Mobile Generators. Managed to catch up with Dr Andy Cornish who was busy giving the rocks a good going over with the vacuum.

From our visit last week, the beach has been transformed thanks to WWF HK who have done a fantastic clean up job. We were still finding nurdles 4 meters up the rocks.

Quote of the day ” I just love the sound of them going up the tube!” …..Dr Andy Cornish, WWF HK

Headed back and then spent evening editing and making info maps for the cleanup crews. Tomorrow is another big day as we enter the weekend and cleanups are organised across Hong Kong.

 

 

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