Greenpeace ship sets sail to highlight risk of mining below the waves – by Barbara Lewis (Reuters U.S. – July 2, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – A Greenpeace ship sets sail on Thursday to study an ecosystem beneath the Atlantic Ocean thought to hold clues to the origins of life to press its case for a ban on deep sea mining, as talks in Jamaica seek to agree rules on deep sea mineral exploitation.

Throughout July, work is under way at the U.N.’s International Seabed Authority (ISA) in Kingston to establish regulation on mining the oceans. So far, regulations have only allowed exploration.

Greenpeace is among the campaigners urging a moratorium at least until the ocean depths are understood. The group also says the ISA is not the right authority to make the decision. It wants what it calls a global ocean treaty with a holistic view of all the challenges, including fishing and oil drilling, as well as seabed mining.

Gretchen Frueh-Green, a professor at ETH university in Zurich, is on board the Esperanza, which will collect samples from the ecosystem known as the “Lost City”, which she discovered.

A series of ghostly hydrothermal vents thought to harbor clues to the origin of life, it lies in international waters that the ISA governs.

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