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Can This Ingenious Catamaran Clean Away Ocean Plastic Pollution?

3D rendering of the plastic-eating ship Seekuh
3D rendering of the plastic-eating ship Seekuh

LÜBECK — The scourge of plastic litter in the oceans is measured in billions of floating tons of pollution, estimated to affect some 40% of the world's waterways. But a solution to this massive environmental problem may be coming from a small shipyard in Northern Germany, where an ingeniously designed catamaran is being built to collect litter from the open ocean waters.

German news agency DPA reports reports from the Lübeck Yacht Trave GmbH shipyard where the catamaran Seekuh ("Manatee") has been commissioned by the One Earth One Ocean association, with plans to start collecting drifting plastic litter this summer.

One Earth One Ocean CEO Günther Bonin and engineer Dirk Lindenau designed the movable nets that will be suspended between the Seekuh hulls to collect up to two tons of litter per journey. The catamaran will be powered by solar panels, allowing it to go as fast as two knots. The craft can also be dismantled into eight modules to be transported across the globe.

The prototype costs around 250,000 euros, with Bonin already planning to build more vessels like the Seekuh, if it proves to be successful.

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Building the Seekuh"s hulls in Lübeck — Photo: One Earth One Ocean

Stephan Lutter, Marine Protection expert at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), says rapid solutions such as the innovative catamaran design are needed, with estimates that up to 10 million tons of new plastic litter end up in the oceans every year. "It's a danger to birds and marine animals as some can get entangled in the plastic or mistake it for with food and swallow it," says Lutter.

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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