We are starting our Round the World voyage with an amazing crew of inspirational women.
An all-female crew is preparing to embark on a two-year sailing mission around the world to investigate the causes of and solutions to ocean plastic pollution.
The eXXpedition Round the World voyage, which sets off from Plymouth on October 8, will sail through some of the most important and diverse marine environments on the planet.
This includes crossing four of the five oceanic gyres, where ocean plastic is known to accumulate, and the Arctic on board 73ft sailing vessel SV TravelEdge.
The expedition will be led by environmental campaigner Emily Penn and during the mission, 300 women will join the crew for various legs of the voyage.
Almost 10,000 women from around the world have applied to take part in the voyage and more than half of the 300 places have since been allocated.
Participants are aged between 18 and 57 and represent more than 30 nationalities, and include scientists, artists, filmmakers, doctors and actors.
"The plastic pollution challenge our ocean faces is a global one and it will take an inspired army of passionate, skilled and experienced people to tackle it," Ms Penn said.
"Our eXXpedition Round the World mission is a unique opportunity to build a comprehensive picture of the state of our seas, while conducting much-needed research that will inform practical and effective solutions to ocean pollution.
"We are starting our Round the World voyage with an amazing crew of inspirational women and some fantastic partners who help to make the dream of such an ambitious project a reality."
During the expedition, scientific research will be carried out at sea and on land.
Professor Richard Thompson, an ocean plastics expert at the University of Plymouth, said: "In recent years, tackling the plastics in our oceans has become one of our most high-profile environmental challenges.
"It is crucial that we use innovative and informed means to develop a greater understanding of the issue's global scale, and to identify ways to address it.
"This collaboration will undoubtedly help achieve that and we are delighted to be working with eXXpedition to generate new knowledge and interest in this important area."
Rod Minchin is a reporter with PA.