The WasteShark drone is equipped with an underwater debris cage capable of carrying up to 350kg of garbage. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Move over Jaws.

There’s a new shark in town and it’s already taking a huge bite out of marine pollution at Dubai Marina.

WasteShark, a 1.5 metre long marine, green and clean drone-of-sorts, made its first public appearance on Wednesday swimming along at 10 kilometres per hour, on the hunt for plastic, algae, weeds and discarded debris on the water surface.

Video by: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

With an attached underwater debris cage capable of carrying up to 350kg of waste when full, the WasteShark takes the rubbish to the shore to be emptied, and starts its clean-up all over again. Operated manually or autonomously, the device can run 24/7 with a quick charge of its battery system.

The brainchild of Dubai-based marine protection systems firm Ecocoast — in partnership with RanMarine Technology — WasteShark has made its home in Dubai Marina in partnership with Dubai Marina Yacht Club, the first marina to use the intelligent marine-cleaning device in the UAE.

Dana Liparts, Ecocoast’s director, displayed WasteShark’s versatility in a demonstration to Gulf News at the marina on Wednesday, noting the marine cleaner is already in use in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia given its far less expensive alternative operation costs, compared to high-end marina and coastal maintenance vessels and crews.

Liparts, and her business partner Lachlan Jackson, managing director — both of whom hail from Australia’s Gold Coast — founded Ecosystem in 2009 at Dubai Industrial Park, and the firm has since has become the largest manufacturer of silt curtains used at marine constructions sites in the world, she said.

“Our entire ethos is pioneering solutions for a marine environment,” Liparts said, noting that given its compact size, the WasteShark can clean out hard-to-reach nooks and crannies in marinas.

“It is designed with a low freeboard, so that it can move along boats to clean up waste. It is very versatile,” she said.

WasteShark can also be fitted with electronic sensors to capture sensitive data such as air quality, water quality or photographic imagery, when used for marine security purposes.

Ahmad Mohamed Abdelhalim, general manager of the yacht club, said on Wednesday that the marina is “raising the bar in undertaking initiatives that will promote environmental sustainability and encourage people to be more juidicious about the use of plastic in marine environments.

WasteShark specifications

• Device is 1556mm long, 1078mm wide and 450mm deep

• It can carry 350kg of waste

• It can collect and store 180 litres of oil captured on the surface of the water

• Cruising speed is 10km/h to 12km/h

• The device is designed for calm inland waterways such as canals, lakes, ponds and marinas.

Source: EcoCoast