On May 23 Major Projects Foundation formalised its partnership with The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and The Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) at the University of Newcastle.

The signing of a memorandum of understanding will bring scientists, engineers, marine archaeologists, Pacific island communities and other interested parties together to research and act on the threat of oil release from World War II shipwrecks in the Pacific.

Major Projects Foundation Director Paul Adams, SPREP Director General Kosi Latu and NIER’s Director Professor Alan Broadfoot stressed the importance of this partnership in reducing the potential environmental, social and economic impact from the legacy wrecks.

“Nearby communities are deeply worried about large amounts of oil spilling out when the wrecks collapse completely. There are only a few years left before rust takes its toll,” said Mr Adams.

Mr Latu said “We have a unique opportunity to focus on deploying science and engineering solutions to protect ecosystems and cultural heritage in the Pacific.”

This partnership is a milestone in the evolution of the Major Projects Foundation. Its proponents and volunteer crew have long been aware of the issue and a little over a year ago they secured the ship, MV Ocean Recovery as the first stage in developing an ambitious project to address the issue. 

Negotiations with international authorities continue as Ocean Recovery conducts sea trials and fundraising along the east coast of Australia before setting sail for the Pacific to research and address the threat.