A Captain’s Plan to move an Iceberg and bring Freshwater for 4 million people

Towering Iceberg in Antartica

A Captain has an ambitious plan of moving an Iceberg from the Antarctic and bringing Freshwater for the people of Cape Town, South Africa as reported by the new story published in the Bloomberg.

Moving an Iceberg from Antarctic?? Yeah you read it right

Nicholas Sloane, a 56-year-old South African marine-salvage master who is known as one of the most trustworthy people when it comes to saving the life of people on ships in the middle of oceans. He has survived two helicopter crashes and spent thousands of hours on the ships that are burning, sinking, breaking apart, or leaking oil, chemicals, or cargo into the ocean.

Now, he is working on a solution which the world calls absurd of harnessing an enormous Iceberg and bringing it to his city of Cape Town in South Africa and convert it into municipal water for the people of the city.

How it all started?

At some point early last year, Sloane really wanted to take a bath but he couldn’t because Cape Town where he lives with his family had recently declared an emergency: After three years of severe drought, the city where 4 million resides was at risk of becoming one of the first city in the world to run out of municipal water.

For which each house was permitted to use only 50 liters of water per day per person, after more than a year later the daily use limit was raised to 70 liters per day per person thanks to the rainfall and serious reduction in water use. But still, the situation is far from normal in Cape Town people take speedy showers and collects the runoffs to use for toilet flushing.

Farmers are staggering throughout the year, more than 30,000 seasonal jobs have been lost in the Western Cape and the Crop production has dropped by about 20%. The level of drought has reached a height that hundreds of farmers in the Northern Cape killed off most of their livestock rather than truck in the costly feed.

Sloane’s Project (source: Bloomberg)

What is his Ambitious Plan?

Sloane’s ambitious plan to balance the water shortage in Cape Town is bringing an enormous Iceberg from the Antarctic to South Africa and convert it into municipal water. “To make it economically feasible, the iceberg will have to be big,” Sloane says.

Practically, it would measure about 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) long, 500 meters wide, and 250 meters deep, and weigh 125 million tons. “That would supply about 20% of Cape Town’s water needs for a year.”

Sloane has already assembled a team of glaciologists, oceanographers, and engineers, he has also established a group of investors to fund for his pioneer move which he calls the Southern Ice Project.

The estimated cost of the project is more than $200 million, some value of the project to be put up by two South African banks and Water Vision AG, a Swiss water technology and infrastructure company.

Now Sloane’s team needs an agreement with South Africa to buy the Antarctic water if the mission goes successful. Sloane says his team could arrange ships, all required equipment within six months and the mission could be started in the month of November or December when the climate of Antarctic is the most extreme. “We’re taking on all the risk,” he says. “We’re ready to go.”

Traveling “slower than the slowest thing on Earth,” as Sloane puts it, the journey will take an estimated 80 to 90 days. The anticipated melt rate is about 0.05 meters to 0.1 meters per day from each side and the base, which would result in a reduction in the size of about 8% by the arrival—but certain factors, most notably storms, could increase erosion at the water line.


Sloane works for the Resolve Marine Group, a global salvage company based in Florida and the Iceberg Project is his side project but his team has some of the biggest names in the world.

First is Georges Mougin (now 91), the French engineer whom Prince Mohammed tapped as CEO of his company, Iceberg Towing International who has spent past 40 years exploring the technologies and materials to be used for iceberg transport.

Second is Olav Orheim (now 77) who served as director of the Norwegian Polar Institute from 1993 to 2005. Orheim has probably landed atop more icebergs than anyone in the world and once was stranded overnight on one with David Attenborough, the English broadcaster and voice of the nature series Planet Earth.


We’re thankful for Bloomberg to publish this story please read Bloomberg article here for all details.

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