DUBAI: The UAE’s Arabian Ocean Rowing Team is aiming to row 5,000 kilometers across the Atlantic Ocean in support of the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Clean Seas campaign.
The team announced a partnership with UNEP, which works with individuals and businesses to transform habits, practices, and standards around the globe to reduce marine waste.
The three-man team of James Raley, Rai Tamagnini and Toby Gregory will cross the Atlantic in an 8-meter-long boat in December this year.
Considered one of the last great adventures on the planet, more people have climbed Mount Everest or traveled into space than have rowed the journey unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean.
The UAE team will be totally self-sufficient for the duration of their expedition, relying entirely on desalinated seawater to hydrate, solar energy to power batteries and electronics, and eating freeze-dried food, all while confined to the small rowing boat.
They will face waves up to 40 feet high and extended sleep deprivation, rowing two hours on, two hours off for 24 hours a day.
Oceans are Earth’s largest biosphere and home to up to 80 percent of all life in the world, generating 50 percent of the oxygen we need and absorbing 25 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions.
By capturing 90 percent of the additional heat generated from those emissions, oceans are a vital buffer against the impacts of climate change.
Without urgent action to conserve, protect, restore and sustainably manage marine ecosystems, the ocean will not be able to continue its major role in limiting and adapting toward climate change, threatening food security and economic stability.
The Arabian Ocean Rowing Team will use their ocean row to bring global publicity to environmental sustainability, reducing marine litter and protecting the oceans.
Through initiatives such as the team’s #BePartOfIt campaign, and visiting schools and business across the UAE, the team is raising awareness about ocean health and the issues caused by plastic pollution.
On their journey across the Atlantic, the trio will also take science experiments, designed by students, so that the public can understand firsthand how plastic pollution has impacted the ocean.
Toby Gregory, Arabian Ocean Rowing Team founder and project director, said: “It is a great honor and a privilege for the Arabian Ocean Rowing Team to be working alongside amazing and talented individuals within the Clean Seas initiative and campaign.
“The ocean and coastal ecosystems sit at the nexus of the triple planetary crisis, the climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis and the pollution and waste crisis. The Clean Seas campaign has led the way in the global effort against marine litter and plastic pollution. Marine pollution is a complex problem and there is no simple solution; every one of us has a part to play.”