British environmentalist David de Rothschild's eco-friendly catamaran, the Plastiki, made from 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles, prepares to embark on a transpacific voyage from San Francisco to Australia. Rothschild, a decedent of the famous English banking family, will make the journey to bring attention to sites of ecological importance that are susceptible to issues caused by climate change. Luca Babini/PRNewsFoto/Revo/Newscom
David de Rothschild looks out a porthole in the cabin of the 60-foot sailing catamaran during a test sail in San Francisco Bay in Sausalito, Calif., on Feb. 11. Their journey will take them through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a massive area of marine litter estimated to be larger than Texas, located between California and Hawaii. Robert Galbraith/Reuters
British adventurer David de Rothschild (2nd l.) poses for photographs with members of his crew, including skipper Jo Royle (l.), Olav Heyerdahl (c.), Dave Thomson (2nd r.) and Josian Heyerdahl (r.), near the Plastiki vessel in Sausalito, Calif. on Feb. 26. Robert Galbraith/Reuters
De Rothschild is photographed with the Plastiki during its construction on the San Francisco waterfront. De Rothschild guided the construction of the massive sailing vessel constructed of recycled plastic and waste and held together with cashew nut glue. In an interview with the New York Times, de Rothschild said: "We don’t have the ability to get out of the way [of storms], so what we need is to have enough confidence in the vessel to say, 'Right, a storm is coming through, we’ll put up a little storm jib and hunker down and let it go over.'" Zuma/Newscom
These plastic bottles, photographed in Sept. 2009, were used in the construction of the Plastiki. Zuma/Newscom
Twelve thousand five hundred polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, bottles form the catamaran and almost all parts of the craft are recyclable. Barbara Munker/Newscom
Captain of the Plastiki and ocean yacht racer, Jo Royle, works on the deck of the boat in San Francisco Bay on Feb. 11. Royle will skipper the vessel to Sydney, Australia. Robert Galbraith/Reuters
David de Rothschild emerges from the plastic cabin of the Plastiki. Rothschild has declined to say how much the vessel has cost him, but has lined up corporate sponsorships for the voyage, including custom-designed Nike high-tops and solar and wind powered electronics from HP. The crew will liveblog the journey, and have been making Twitter updates since their departure on March 19. Robert Galbraith/Reuters
The Plastiki, is seen during a test-run in San Francisco Bay on Feb. 11. Robert Galbraith/Reuters
Skipper Jo Royle works at the navigation station in the cabin of the Plastiki. Robert Galbraith/Reuters
One objective of the voyage will be to investigate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Captain Charles Moore, the man credited for first discovering the waste over 10 years ago, shows plastic samples collected in the North Pacific Gyre. The Algalita Marine Research Foundation has been studying and educating the public about the effects of oceanic micro-plastic pollution on the ocean's ecosystem and marine life for over ten years. Newscom/File
A computer shows a three-year tracking of ocean drift and currents in the North Pacific Gyre, the large system of rotating currents that is responsible for gathering garbage and plastic wastes in the Pacific. Newscom/File
The voyage of the Plastiki will also investigate coral bleaching, an indicator of trouble with the symbiotic relationships in coral reefs. This undated file photo released by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority shows a bleached section of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, which scientists have warned could be killed by global warming within decades. A report on September 2, 2009 warned that Australia's Great Barrier Reef is in serious jeopardy as global warming and chemical runoff threaten to kill marine species and cause serious outbreaks of disease. AFP/HO/Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
David de Rothschild unveiled Plastiki Mission Control Center at Pier 45 in San Francisco on June 26, 2009. Visitors to the center can learn about the Plastiki. Dino Vournas/AP/HP
Many worry a new EU mission – which replaces a larger Italian effort patrolling for refugees traveling from North Africa to Europe – means more migrants will die. This year, more than 3,000 people have perished – five times as many as in 2013.
They are packed into the stinking holds of ramshackle boats. Water and food are scarce, and they are beaten by ruthless smugglers if they dare to try to reach the deck for a lungful of air. The more truculent have at times simply been thrown overboard.