Given the horrendous pollution in the world’s oceans, we’ve been fascinated to learn about the work of the National Oceanography Centre, but we never expected FabLittleBag to be joining one of their voyages!

National Oceanography Centre

The maritime industry itself is very conscientious about marine pollution as there are regulations in place for waste control to prevent pollution.  The National Ocenography Centre (NOC) sends ships on scientific research expeditions, making observations on the seafloor and surrounding environment.

However every inch of space counts on board their sea-going research vessels loaded with specialist equipment, including in the ships’ heads (known as the ‘heads’ if you’re a sailor). Which is where FabLittleBag comes in. FabLittleBag dispensers are neatly fitted on the wall, at point of need, enabling hygienic, feel good disposal, even on the waves.

So not only is FabLittleBag preventing ocean pollution by keeping sanitary items from being flushed on land, it’s helping scientists and mariners at sea have a better disposal experience too.

We were entranced to read about the endeavours of the NOC’s two research ships, the RRS James Cook and RRS Discovery, both currently at sea. They have kindly shared details of their missions, which are no less than incredible adventures of discovery.

National Oceanography Centre

RRS James Cook is currently working off of the Canary Islands then makes a brief port call into Las Palmas. The ship then commences a 35 day science operation working from Las Palmas to Freeport Bahamas. The Bahamas project makes observations of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation in collaboration with colleagues from University of Miami and NOAA in the USA. The UK component of this project is an array of moorings in the subtropical Atlantic. These moorings are scheduled to be serviced once every 18 months with some of the arrays deployed in 5000 metres of water.

RRS Discovery is currently en-route from Durban South Africa to Santos Brazil. On arrival into Santos the Discovery will load a number of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles that have been shipped out to the ship from the UK. Expedition DY094 will sail from Santos, Brazil, on the 20th of October with a scientific team from the NOC, British Geological Survey, the University of Edinburgh and the University of Sao Paulo.

Deploying the autonomous underwater vehicle, Autosub6000,  the team will map the Rio Grande Rise in extraordinary detail. With the remotely operated underwater vehicle HyBIS, they will explore and photograph features on the seafloor including a huge rift over 1000m deep, mysterious sinkholes and the ancient remains of beaches long since drowned under hundreds of metres of water.

Surrounded by water over 3000m deep, the relatively shallow Rio Grande Rise in the South Atlantic is of interest for seafloor mineral deposits rich in iron, manganese and other metals that are important to modern society. Two of these, in particular, are critical to any future effort to reduce our dependence on hydrocarbons: cobalt and tellurium. Cobalt is essential in rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles. Tellurium is essential for high-efficiency solar-electric power generation.

The research aims to enhance understanding of the processes controlling the formation and composition of deep-ocean mineral deposits. By deploying autonomous and remotely operated underwater vehicles, instrument moorings, and novel sampling methodologies, the research team will test hypotheses for the environmental controls on metal concentration and deposit richness at a regional to local scale.

The crew at FabLittleBag is hugely proud that our little disposal bags are having such great adventures. Our warm thanks to the team at the NOC for sharing the fascinating details of their expeditions.

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