On Monday the 23rd of March 2020, the general cargo vessel the MV Kaami ran aground on a rocky outcrop at 2am during stormy winds and very high seas on rocks between The Isle of Harris and the Isle Skye, 20 Kilometres from Luskentyre Beach.
Her cargo was 1927 tonnes of pelletised refuse-derived fuel (shredded plastic and waste material) destined to to be incinerated and which, if spilled, posed an immediate risk to the environment.
As a commercial Diver I was asked to join a small team of divers as part of the Salvage operation of the MV Kaami. The Kaami was deemed an emergency by the UK Government and HM Coastguard and the Salvage team was immediately tasked with securing the vessel and its cargo from polluting the environment.
I hold The Western Isles and Skye very close to my heart and have spent a lot of time there working and on holiday with my Family. My grandparents are from the Isle of Lewis which is an amazing part of the world, and one of my favourite places.
On The salvage of the Kaami, the threat to the environment from waste plastic, was stark. During the salvage operation we saw Otters, Seals and Sea Eagles and their threat, as well as the threat to other wildlife from plastic pollution, was very real. We also retrieved two lorry loads of rope as well as other marine debris and contaminants from the Vessel. The combination of this sparked a desire in me to create a product from waste and to try to do my bit to tackle growing problem of pollution in our oceans.
I had started to collect some waste plastic from the ship's hold, in the pockets of my diving suit during each dive. I thought that if I could make it into a viable product, then there was an opportunity to reduce our consumption of new plastic and demonstrate that it was possible to turn a discarded material into a product with a net benefit for the environment.
In he evenings I also carried out my own beach clean ups around Uig, collecting the plastic debris that had washed up. I returned home following a successful Salvage Operation of the MV Kaami, where the waste material was contained, and set to work learning how to manufacture with plastic