A new project, that includes the University of Newcastle, aims to prevent oil spills in the Pacific Ocean originating from the thousands of World War II shipwrecks that lie on the ocean's floor.
A remediation program headed by the university, the Major Projects Foundation and the intergovernmental Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), will see scientists, engineers and marine archaeologists working with Pacific Island communities to confront the challenges associated with the degradation of wrecks.
The project will be launched on Thursday in Newcastle Harbour aboard the MV Ocean Recovery, a specialised vessel that will enable the team to explore wrecks underwater.
"This partnership will enable our world-class researchers to contribute tangible solutions that can protect our oceans from major environmental damage," Professor Alan Broadfoot from the university said.
Newcastle couple Paul and Wilma Adams are the directors of the environmental charity, the Major Projects Foundation, which operates the MV Ocean Recovery.
"Nearby communities are deeply worried about large amounts of oil spilling out when the wrecks collapse completely. There are only a few years left before rust takes its toll," Mr Adams said of the project.