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Zero emissions vessel attempts to beat the Around Isle of Wight world sailing speed record

28 11 19 Phil sharp

Colliers International is official supporter of the pioneering OceansLab vessel.


Newly electrified zero emissions vessel OceansLab is to attempt to beat the current world sailing speed record time of 6h 29m 32s Around Isle of Wight, raising awareness of the urgent action required to reduce maritime air pollution along the UK coastline, and in busy ports such as Southampton. 

Two-times world record holder Phil Sharp is on standby to single-handedly undertake the challenge on his newly modified vessel, which international property advisor Colliers International supports. Phil will be attempting to break the existing record time set by skipper Alex Alley in 2017. 

“In order that oceanic transportation is made sustainable, we need demonstration projects like OceansLab to show what is possible. Coastal regions near shipping zones are the worst hit and as the ocean is my working environment, I want to demonstrate that zero emissions transport is possible,” skipper Phil said. 

OceansLab aims to raise awareness of the scalable solutions that can be embraced to decarbonise the sector and to help drive innovation forward. 

Andres Guzman, Head of Sustainability at Colliers International, said: “Phil’s dedication towards cleaning up the maritime industry is impressive. The way he’s experimenting and testing new technology provides many opportunities for cross-industry learning, such as the way buildings can maximise the use of renewables through batteries and ultimately be designed to be completely off grid, as well as how materials and building processes can be made more efficient and long-lasting. 

“We wish him the best of luck in his latest record attempt.” 

OceansLab is a Class 40 race boat which is currently fitted with an electric propulsion system, battery storage, solar PV and a hydro-turbine. In parallel, a hydrogen fuel cell prototype is being installed on the boat, which has been recognised by the Global Maritime Forum as a vital scalable technology for the introduction of zero emissions vessels. It will also enable carbon emissions to be reduced to zero by 2050, in line with climate change targets. 

According to the United Nations, around 90 per cent of world trade is transported on our oceans, accounting for 2.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, compared to aviation at 2 per cent. 

The Around Isle of Wight record routes through the UK’s second busiest shipping zone where toxic emissions from ships (cruise liner and cargo) are a significant cause for health and environmental concerns. Research has shown that 30 per cent of the pollution in UK port towns can come from ships, and that long-term exposure to the nitrogen and sulphur oxides released has been linked to the deaths of around 40,000 people in the UK annually. 

“The positive news is that the shipping industry now has regulation to significantly reduce the sulphur emission of ships from 2020, and there are some key players in the sector trying to accelerate change,” said Phil. “However, this doesn’t limit continued high levels of NOx and CO2 emissions close to the coast and particularly in port, when ships are burning several tonnes of fossil fuels every hour, just to power their onboard systems. Effectively they are like mini floating cities.” 

The record attempt is on standby, in Code Red status until a suitable weather window has been identified, at which point OceansLab will move to Code Amber and finally Code Green to declare an estimated start time. This record follows on from Phil’s successful Round Britain and Ireland World Record that was set last year, and from his single-handed Cross-Channel outright monohull World Record set in 2016. 

OceansLab will arrive at Southampton’s Ocean Village this week where final preparations will be made ahead of the record attempt. 

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Kim Inam

PR Manager

Marketing & Communications

London - West End

I'm a communications professional who has previously worked as a journalist for eight years covering a broad range of topics including politics, crime, health and housing in north London. In recent years I have worked in corporate communications for local authorities across London  and joined Colliers in October 2019, initially providing maternity leave cover.

I provide strategic public relations advice to various business lines within the UK organisation to secure recognition for their work in the property press as well as key target media, and work with our experts to produce thought leadership pieces which are of interest to our clients and colleagues within the commercial real estate sector. In addition, alongside colleagues in the PR and wider communications team, I provide media and social media training for our in-house experts to prepare them for media opportunities and raise their personal brand within the sector.

As well as supporting various teams within the UK business, I also I curate and edit regular content for the blog, which drives credible business leads to our experts.


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