Kit O. Payumo
December 11, 2017     |    

Essential Sea Mission

Luminox is helping save our oceans one ghost net and one turtle at a time

Scott Cassell is a former Counterterrorism Combat Dive Instructor to the Special Ops community, an expert military operative, an anti-piracy consultant, a sniper, a former Special Ops combat medic, and a MedEvac Flight Instructor in the Army National Guard.

Now retired from the military, Scott Cassel has become our generation’s version of Jacques Cousteau and has an unwavering commitment to his one essential mission in life: to save our oceans and the conservation of the diverse marine life that live within it. 

In an unprecedented move to promote marine conservation, André Bernheim co-owner and CEO of the Swiss watch manufacturer Mondaine Watch Ltd., which owns the Luminox brand, got together with Scott Cassell, to put together an event in the waters off of Thailand called ESSENTIAL SEA MISSION: GHOST NETS RECOVERY & SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION, and invited the Luminox distributors and various media representatives of the region to participate.

Separated into two distinct teams, Team #1 was the dive group headed by Cassell and Bernheim, which went diving off Hin Yai (big rock in Thai), off the waters of Sattahip, Thailand to assist Save our Seas (SOS), a local volunteer association comprised of divers of all ages committed to help clean the ocean floor of trash. 

Their mission was to recover ghost nets, which, according to Cassell, are the “real killers of the sea.” These “drift nets either came loose on the open ocean and drifted into shallower water or were snagged on reefs and ripped free and now lie off the coast where they’re trapping and killing sea mammals and sea life by the thousands.”

At the end of the day Team #1 recovered over 250kg of nets that have been ripped on the bottom of the sea.  According to Cassell, “We had to pull it off and not hurt the coral and, all the time, there are sea urchins that will spine you, and hurt you.  So you have to be very careful to keep yourself safe, and you’re pulling on this very dangerous net, because this net can get wrapped on you and drown you, and kill you.”

Team #2, on the other hand, had an easier time of it.  Led by Luminox Head of Marketing, Pierrick Marcoux, and Regional Manager for Asia Pacific, Andres Poy, Team #2 visited the Sea Turtle Conservation Center spearheaded by the Royal Thai Navy.

There, we got our first glimpse of what it takes to repopulate the endangered sea turtle and were even given the opportunity to release some of them.  A representative from every country that participated in the event got to release one ready-for-release turtle back into the waters of Thailand.

Team #2 also participated in planting future forests, ocean forests to be exact.  In the reef planting activity, every representative had the opportunity to “screw on” live corral onto man-made corral reefs made of PVC tubing.   These “reefs” were then taken out into the ocean and “fastened” on the ocean floor where over time will grow into the existing reef.

Before the end of the 3-day event, Cassell reminded us that, “Our oceans keep everyone we love alive.  The oceans provide most of the oxygen that we breathe.  The oceans give us the weather that we use for agriculture.  The oceans provide us with most of the food that the world eats.  If the oceans collapse, our families die.  Everyone we love dies.  So our ocean’s survival is the most important thing.  It is threatened, and so are we.  We need more volunteers to pick up trash on the beach, to donate to non-profits, or to go out and as divers, go underwater and collect these ‘death machines,’ these nets that kill for a long time.”

Cassell also said, “The new nets that are made in Asia are the best in the world.  That’s good and that’s bad because the nets can live in the water and kill for hundreds of years.  Longer than any of us will be alive and they will continue killing.  We have to take these lost nets out of the ocean because they are killing fish and nobody benefits.  These nets are terrible, killing machines and we have to get them out.”

And this is the clincher: at no point during the event did Luminox ever highlight a particular collection; never did they endorse any of the numerous Luminox models associated with Cassell.  Perhaps André Bernheim summed it up best, “We do not want to launch a new collection.  We don’t even want to sell any particular model.  We only want to express what the brand is all about.  We want to tell the world what is important to us.”  And, really, what’s more important than that?


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