Waste Shark - Making It Safe To Go Back In The Water

The Port of Rotterdam has deployed a Waste Shark to patrol its harbour. Four aquatic drones will clear up plastic litter in the water over the course of the next six months. In return the Port authority is supporting the pilot.

Waste Shark


Just months after the initial designs were made the first prototype was launched during the World Port Days in Rotterdam. The device can be deployed 24/7 to clear up to 500 kg of plastic waste using its open mouth 35 cm below the water’s surface.  Once it is full the drone sets off to empty its load and recharge itself at the same time. It is about the size of a small car.

The aquadrone device navigates using GPS data fed into a computer. It is also able to avoid collisions with ships using signals sent by the ships themselves. Its compact size means it is able to access tight corners where litter accumulates.

Environmental problem

Plastic waste in the water is not just an environmental problem, it also hampers shipping. It has even been known to cause collisions when it get wrapped around a ship’s propeller. The Port of Cape Town, which was recently closed after just such a collision, is one of the port authorities interested in the Waste Shark.

Accelerator programme

The 24/7 aquatic clean up robot was an idea by Richard Hardiman of RanMarine, and co-developed by Genuin Engineering. The device came into existence during last June’s Shakedown event organised by PortXL, a start-up accelerator programme for port innovators in Rotterdam. During the event, twelve start-ups selected  from over 1000 entries spent 100 days doing business together with a team of mentors.