Following the inspiring examples of only.one, beachcleaner.de, blue-awareness.com and many others, the Global Offshore Sailing Team also followed its long-standing tradition of standing up for the sea by supporting UNEP’s Global Goals during Expedition Andaman Sea 2023. The Expedition Corps consisted of Guido Zoeller, Jochen Werne, Benon Janos, Marco Schroeter, Sascha Adam, Sven O. Mueller, Sven Streiter, Christoph Impekoven and Viktor Metz.
On 19 April 2023, the team landed on the remote tiny southern beach of Ko Hi. Despite its remoteness, the beach contained an enormous amount of plastic waste that had accumulated there over the years. The team cleaned parts of the beach and brought everything possible to the base, where it is now sent to the recycling process.
UNEP’s Clean Seas Initiative and the Valiant Efforts of the Global Offshore Sailing Team
The United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Clean Seas Initiative is a vital global effort aimed at combating marine plastic pollution, a pressing environmental issue that threatens the health of our oceans and marine life. By rallying governments, businesses, and individuals to take decisive action, the Clean Seas Initiative is making significant strides towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 14: Life Below Water. A shining example of dedicated environmental stewardship is the Global Offshore Sailing Team (GOST), whose remarkable contributions have been recognized with the prestigious Bavarian States Medal.
Launched in 2017, UNEP’s Clean Seas Initiative has been instrumental in raising awareness and promoting effective solutions to tackle marine pollution. It engages stakeholders at various levels, encouraging them to adopt sustainable practices, reduce plastic production and consumption, and implement policies that protect the world’s oceans. As a result, the initiative has made considerable progress in fulfilling the targets set under SDG 14, which focuses on conserving and sustainably using marine resources.
The Global Offshore Sailing Team, a passionate group of sailors and environmentalists, has been a crucial ally in this fight against marine plastic pollution. Through their expeditions, GOST has taken the message of the Clean Seas Initiative to the most remote and inaccessible parts of the world’s oceans. Their dedication to raising awareness, conducting research, and collecting vital data on the impact of plastic pollution on marine ecosystems is unparalleled.
Throughout their journeys, GOST has engaged with local communities, schools, and institutions, empowering them with knowledge and resources to join the battle against marine pollution. They have also forged partnerships with various organizations, further amplifying the reach and impact of the Clean Seas Initiative.
In recognition of their unwavering commitment to environmental conservation, the Global Offshore Sailing Team was recently awarded the Bavarian States Medal. This prestigious honor reflects the immense value of GOST’s work in championing the goals of the UNEP’s Clean Seas Initiative and their broader contributions to the global sustainability agenda.
The achievements of the Clean Seas Initiative and the Global Offshore Sailing Team are a testament to the power of collective action in addressing the urgent issue of marine plastic pollution. Their inspiring efforts serve as a reminder that every individual, community, and organization has a role to play in safeguarding the health of our oceans and preserving them for future generations.
With pride GOST (Global Offshore Sailing Team) collaborates since years with the Asociación para la Investigación y Difusión de la Historia Naval de Cuba. The latest collaboration with respect to Expedition Blue Ocean is a living example, that despite the political state of affairs, organisations strongly focused on supporting international understanding can be instrumental in solving challenges which cannot be solved within the borders of just one country.
Excerpt from EL Faro, June 2022 – Author: Maximino Gomez Alvarez – translated with deepL
AIDHNC SUPPORTS EXPEDITION BLUE OCEAN AND COMBINES IT WITH THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FOUNDATION OF THE HEMINGWAY INTERNATIONAL YACHT CLUB OF CUBA”.
Despite the many difficulties faced, including the COVID 19 pandemic that we have been suffering for more than two years, the Association for Research and Dissemination of the Naval History of Cuba has not rested in its arduous work. 2022 has been an illustrative year of the progress made by this organisation, achieving great objectives in its growth and organisation. Several collaboration agreements have been signed, including one with the Hemingway International Sailing Club of Cuba, and support has also been given to various activities carried out by the prestigious international organisation Global Offshore Sailing Team.
Two events stood out in the month of May, Expedition Blue Ocean and the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the creation of the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba, in both activities the AIDHNC has been present.
In the case of the support given to the North Sea Endurance Expedition within the framework of the Blue Ocean event, several voyages were made, the one made by GOST, two others leaving from the port of Miami to Key West with the vessel La Caña (as the flagship of the AIDHNC) and another one made in Cuban waters to the north of the Province of Havana, with five vessels of the CNIHC. Thus, the flag of our organisation flew in the waters of the North Sea, until reaching the English coast, the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico and Cuba.
Extensive publicity work was carried out to publicise the Expedition Blue Ocean. Another of the activities programmed was a Children’s Drawing Competition with the slogan “For a clean and beautiful ocean” in greeting and support of the Blue Ocean Expedition and the 30th Anniversary of the CNIHC.
In the case of the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba, with which a Collaboration Agreement had previously been signed, a complete collection of naval-themed works published by the AIDHNC was donated to this institution, and a Diploma of the AIDHNC was presented to Commodore José Miguel Díaz Escrich, who has directed this illustrious and renowned Cuban nautical institution since its foundation and up to the present day. Likewise, we supported the activities of celebration of the 30th Anniversary of this renowned Cuban Yacht Club, participating in the regatta held also in salute to this anniversary, as well as in the Reception held as a culmination of the activities held in the framework of these celebrations.
A generation that has experienced peace as the status quo might easily tend to forget that war has historically been more of a status quo than peace. Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institute and historian Niall Ferguson’s books are full of examples. The long period of peace in historically hostile Europe was due to the hard work of visionary figures after the Second World War. They worked on a European concept of unity and cooperation. An idea that was unthinkable in the past but is a reality today. For all the shortcomings we may experience, it is of the utmost importance to always remember what a great goal has been achieved over such a long period of time: PEACE.
It would be of utmost importance to create even more initiatives like this as a basis for addressing the global challenges that lie ahead. Challenges that we can only solve on a global basis.
GOST has made it a priority to support INTERNATIONAL UNDERSTANDING through its missions by teaching history and raising awareness of issues of global importance. We are proud to have achieved this again with Expedition Blue Ocean ( www.ExpeditionBlueOcen.org ).
The list of supporters is long and we would like to extend a special thank you to
The House of Lords
Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Boyce
The City of London
The Police of the City of London
The staff of the House of Lords
St. Katharine’s Dock Marina
Asociación para la Investigación y Difusión de la Historia Naval de Cuba
The challenging tides, rough weather and dense ship traffic of the North Sea will be the first chapter within the Global Offshore Sailing Team‘s Expedition Blue Ocean. In 2022, GOST will undertake various missions to all Seven Seas to learn about and promote the most exciting #CLEAN ENERGY & #CLEAN SEAS projects and the driving forces behind them.
Inspired by the great Prince of the Sea Albert I and his strong commitment to international understanding, the environment and our oceans, we will carry out various missions with our supporters around the globe to promote international understanding and environmental awareness around #cleanseas and #cleanenergy
I’m proud commanding the 1st Mission with an outstanding experienced team:
NORTH SEA ENDURANCE 600+nm Offshore (Expedition Blue Ocean) Departure Zeebrugge, Belgium – 14 May 22: Into the Night – 271 nm Offshore to Wilhelmshaven/Bremerhaven – Meet the drivers of the #CLEAN SEAS initiatives of the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, Beach Cleaner and many more. Sail from Wilhelmshaven North-West to the major offshore wind farms. Meet Northern Helicopters and others who keep these breathtaking #CLEAN ENERGY projects running in such challenging conditions.
GOST co-founder JOCHEN WERNE is awarded the STATE MEDAL – the highest honor of the Free State of Bavaria – for special commitment to environmental protection and announces an extraordinary new project with the EXPEDITION BLUE OCEAN.
In the Imperial Hall of the Residence in Munich on 26 October, Minister of State Thorsten Glauber presented the Environmental Medal 2021 to selected personalities, municipalities or organisations for their special commitment to environmental or consumer protection. The honor of this highest award of the Free State of Bavaria is bestowed on a maximum of 15 people each year.
Jochen Werne, who founded the Global Offshore Sailing Team (GOST) together with Guido Zoeller in 1999, was awarded the Bavarian State Medal. For more than 20 years he has been working to raise awareness in society for ocean issues. Over 30 GOST expeditions across the world’s oceans culminated in 2018 with the Expedition Antarctic Blanc in an act of state in Antarctica supported by 19 heads of state and led to extraordinary attention to the concerns of our environment and the need for close friendly international understanding.
Werne emphasizes, “This extraordinarily honorable award may bear my name, but it is for me a GOST AWARD. Without the commitment and passionate dedication of all GOST members and supporters to each mission, all that has been created would not have been possible.”
GOST is already planning the next major initiative, Expedition Blue Ocean (www.ExpeditionBlueOcean.org), which is open to anyone who wants to contribute to the oceans. Expedition Blue Ocean will take the sea route from Monaco in the Mediterranean to the Arctic port of Longyearbyen. Comparable to the Olympic torch relay, the expedition flag will be passed from one ship to the next. In the process, many crews will make a small but very important contribution to achieving a major goal. This will also serve symbolically to involve important actors in the field of marine protection and international maritime shipping in a dialogue.
Expedition Blue Ocean will serve as a platform for all crews and supporters in ports to promote the beauty of our oceans through events, fundraisers, international media coverage, etc. This will be done by raising civil society awareness of the importance and fragility of our planet’s marine ecosystem in light of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Viewers around the world will be able to follow the prestigious yachts, their crews and the events on the internet and social media, or get involved themselves as ambassadors of the expedition with their own contribution. The expedition management can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m proud having the opportunity to publish today this homage to all on- and offshore members of the Global Offshore Sailing Team (GOST). They created in the last 20 years a unique example of people’s diplomacy. Founded in 1999 by Jochen Werne and Guido Zoeller, the Global Offshore Sailing Team, acts today as an international group of dedicated sailors comprised of members from all over the world. GOST which navigates on oceans worldwide and in which many teammates have naval backgrounds, have made it a priority to keep naval traditions alive and to use expeditions as instrument for the creation of international understanding and peoples’ diplomacy.
Jochen Werne Co-Founder GLobal Offshore Sailing Team
German Naval officers reflect about Antarctica and its importance for our society.
“It has been an honour to give a speech for the “Marine-Offiziers-Messe München”, highlighting the importance of Antarctica for us and our planet and to report about the Global Offshore Sailing Team’s Expedition Antarctic Blanc.”
Jochen Werne Antarctic Blanc Expedition Leader
Having experienced the sea by themselves the retired German Naval Officers enriched the discussion greatly with their own fascinating experiences and personal stories about life on sea and the challenges with the elements.
I’m grateful to Commander ret. Bernd Lehmann and Commander ret. Bernd Chittka for the invitation and the members and guests of the “Marine-Offiziers-Messe München for an outstanding evening and their engagement for our society.
The Global Offshore Sailing Team sailed to the most Southerly partially ice-free place of this planet – the ANTARCTIC continent. The international team remembered all sailors who bravely explored this fragile and dangerous environment.
With this Expedition a platform of intercultural and interdisciplinary exchange for ANTARCTIC enthusiasts such as Historians, Environmental Scientists, Sailors, NGO’s, Navies, Associations or just out of personal interest has been created.
Pre-Expedition Press Conference Coverage – in French language
Monaco Info reported about the Expedition Antarctic Blanc’s Press Conference at the Yacht Club de Monaco interviewing Expedition Leader Jochen Werne, Environmental Initiatives Coordinator Dr. Benon Janos and Chief Observer David Gamba. The expedition will took place between the 12th and the 27th of February 2018 and was engaged in the commemoration of Antarctic explorers and the support of the United Nations #CleanSeas initiative.
Initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron, it’s a great honour having received an invitation from the French Ministère de la Transition écologique et solidaire to hand over the French expedition flag to Mme Sophie-Dorothée Duron, Conseillère Biodiversité Eau Mer in the Cabinet du Ministre
On 1 April 2019 at 4 p.m., Mme Sophie-Dorothée Duron, Conseillère Biodiversité Eau Mer will welcome a delegation from the international expedition Antarctic Blanc, which was successfully carried out with French assistance. The delegation will present the expedition flag, which represented France in Antarctica, as a symbol of remembrance.
French President Emmanuel MACRON personally underlined in his letter of support to the Expedition how important the preservation of our planet’s ecosystem is and how valuable therefore the creation of awareness in the society by the initiative.
Letter from the Elysée Palace supporting Expedition Antarctic Blanc
STORMS AND ICEBERGS
Expedition Antarctic Blanc pursued historical, social and environmental goals. The 12 expedition offshore participants of the initiative, supported by the United Nations and 19 states, crossed on a 20m sailing yacht twice in 12 days, under the toughest conditions, one of the most dangerous sea routes in the world – the Drake Passage, covering 1129 nautical miles (over 2,000km). The journey was marked by the passage of several storm systems in the Antarctic and off Cape Horn, which delayed the return by several days. Winds with up to 50kn, waves up to 8m high and temperatures around freezing point demanded top physical performances from the expedition participants.
INTERNATIONAL COMMEMORATION CEREMONY. Sailing on Historic Routes. The expedition commemorated the researchers, explorers and sailors whose ships had to master the challenging peculiarities of reaching an unknown part of the world. The international team held a commemoration ceremony on the historically significant Antarctic volcanic Deception Island. In the name of all supporting states and the United Nations, a wreath of local ice was symbolically formed and laid down in order to pay international tribute to the achievements in the exploration of this unique continent. The supporting nations are among the signatories of the politically unique Antarctic Treaty of 23 June 1961. Heads of state and government organizations of the 19 nations have expressed their support for this unique, privately initiated expeditions in letters to the leader of the expedition, Jochen Werne, in particular for the execution of the ceremonial act of commemoration.
FRANCE AND THE ANTARCTIC TREATY. France joined the Antarctic Treaty on 23 June 1961 and, with its signature, also acknowledged that “in the interest of all mankind, Antarctica is used exclusively for peaceful purposes and should not become the scene or object of international discord”. France also underlined its commitment to the preservation of this ecosystem as a “nature reserve dedicated to peace and science”.
UNEP CLEAN SEAS INITIATIVE. The main focus of the expedition was to sensitize the international public for the preservation of the unique Antarctic ecosystem and to support the UN initiative Clean Seas to combat plastic waste in the oceans. With Expedition Antarctic Blanc, this important United Nations Environmental Program project is now finding acceptance on all continents of our planet.
CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON THE ECOSYSTEM. In addition, the expedition supported the University of Connecticut and Northeastern University’s research project on plankton metabarcoding by collecting plankton samples, which could provide a fundamental contribution to obtaining rapid responses to the ecosystem’s response to climate change.
WHALES IN THE ANTARCTIC. With the observation of 18 different whales and the detailed documentation of their position and behaviour, the expedition also contributed to the establishment of the global whale observation platform ‘Happy Wales’. The platform is intended to provide science with in-depth insights into the behaviour and development of the largest mammals on our planet.
CHILD AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT. To promote international children and youth projects, several live broadcasts were held from sea and Antarctica with children of the sailing school of the Yacht Club de Monaco. On their return, the team visited the Cedena Yacht School Puerto Williams, Chile, which is open to children from all walks of life in the southernmost region of our planet, and through sport encourages them to develop their own goals and character traits that are conducive to their personal development. In addition to a donation from the expedition team, the foundation stone was laid for an international exchange and the children were introduced to Antarctica and its significance.
INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION. The visit to Paris marks the fifth important reception for Expedition Antarctic Blanc after the reception by Prince Albert II in Monaco, the ambassador of the poles of the Netherlands, Carola van Reijnsoever, in The Hague, the President of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen in Vienna and the Private Secretary to Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark Henning Fode.
Following the flag handover on 1 April 2019 at 4 p.m. in Paris, the expedition leader Jochen Werne and Chief Liasion Officer to France Olivier Blanchard will be available to the press for questions and interviews, pictures and filming.
On request, the delegation can also attend press events in Paris on this day. Accreditation is requested. Please send an e-mail to ExpeditionLeader@AntarcticBlanc.com for this purpose.
Expedition participants – Offshore Team
Jochen Werne Expedition Leader
Marco Schröter Chief Safety Officer
Oliver Picht Navigator & Chief Documentation Officer
Linden Blue Chief Communication Officer
Bernd Görgner Chief Medical Officer
Benon Janos Environmental Initiatives Coordinator
Wolfgang Händel Chief Logistics Officer
Hans Axtner Master of Ceremony
Michael Melnick Chief Sciences Coordinator
David Gamba Chief Observer
Wolf Kloss Skipper and Expedition Yacht Owner
Karl Papenfuss Mate
Comment on the initiator of the expedition – The Global Offshore Sailing Team (GOST)
Expedition “Antarctic Blanc” is the continuation of the polar initiative launched in 2016 with comparable objectives under the name “Arctic Ocean Raptor”, but in the Spitsbergen sea area and up to the Arctic pack ice limit. An additional and important aspect was the commemoration of the seafarers of all nations, who fulfilled their seafaring duties during the maritime operations in the Arctic under the mostly merciless weather conditions and partly also lost their lives. In the name of the Norwegian King Harald V and the Canadian government, a wreath was handed over to the lake; further international support for this expedition came from Belgium, Germany, Great Britain and Italy. Founded in 1999 by Jochen Werne and Guido Zoeller, the Global Offshore Sailing Team is once again committed to maritime history and environmental issues with this particularly challenging expedition and its People’s Diplomacy campaign.