Ecological sailboat built in Costa Rica to cause changes in the shipping industry

By Alvaro Murillo

PUNTA MORALES, Costa Rica, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Some 200 workers from 27 nationalities are building a hybrid sailboat inspired by vintage Finnish ships off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, hoping to show that shipping is possible in the 21st century. goods without polluting the environment.

His dream is to launch “the largest clean cargo ship in the world” into the waters soon, as described by the company Sailcargo Inc on its internet portal, seeking to cause changes in the global shipping industry from the Central American country with no shipyard tradition.

According to the design, made by a Dutch naval architect, the three-masted vessel will move up to 350 tons of cargo with the force of the wind supplemented by electric motors powered by solar energy.

Beyond romantic environmentalism, a multicultural experiment or a taste for tropical woods in modern naval architecture, profitability is on the minds of young foreign or local leaders and employees who have been working since 2018 in a communal environment.

“One of the most important things is to show that it is profitable, along with environmental and social sustainability,” Danielle Doggett, general director of the company, told Reuters, amid the hustle and bustle of the works next to the mangrove of Punta Morales, a poor fishing community located in the Puntarenas province, 125 kilometers west of San José.

Doggett, a professional ship captain, founded the company with her partner, Lynx Guimond, an adventurer and cabinetmaker, both Canadians. Together with a Costa Rican partner, they intend to finish in 2021 the prototype of an ecological boat named Ceiba, as the sacred tree of the Central American native peoples.

The plan is to put it into operation in 2022 on routes between Canada, Ecuador and Hawaii to recover in six years the private investment of 4.2 million dollars raised from many countries through an online platform.

There is value in doing it in this country of recognized environmental leadership, said Costa Rican John Porras proudly, co-founder and legal representative of Sailcargo Inc. “We want it to be a flagship ship, to carry the Costa Rican flag with products that can be truly marketed with the seal of ‘zero emissions’ such as coffee, turmeric, salmon, barley and others “.

In the midst of trees and the incessant sound of saws, sanders and mallets in temporary workshops, the structure takes shape that will measure 45 meters long and 33 meters high. They make it from wood from secondary forests, cultivated or from fallen trees in a nearby area, according to the company.

“Almost all efforts against climate change are made on land, but the problem is in the seas. This ship is a prototype to demonstrate that clean cargo can be done,” Porras said.

The sense of the environment is shared by the people who work here, such as Yamileth Espino, a young single mother from the town who came to the company for cleaning tasks and now works wood.

“I tell people that I work making a boat and they don’t believe it,” Espino said spontaneously, along with an Australian colleague and another American who came to this project recruited from their countries. “I clarify that it is a boat that does not pollute.” (Report by Alvaro Murillo. Edited by Miguel Angel Gutiérrez)

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.