EcoClippers acquires the first sailboat for sustainable navigation on the North Sea trade routes
A zero-carbon shipping company in the Netherlands acquired its first vessel this month which will carry cargo as well as passengers under sail across the North Sea in the first half of 2022, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Alkmaar-based EcoClipper purchased the 1912-built De Tukker, a Dutch Sea Klipper also known as ‘Schoeneraak’. Originally, De Tukker traded in coastal cargo from the North Sea and neighboring waters before becoming a sailing apprentice.
They plan to introduce this first vessel converted to operate in sustainable North Sea shipping and service routes from the UK to mainland Europe whilst offering those looking for a more environmentally friendly travel experience. . EcoClippers also cites the growing public awareness in recent years of the fragility of global supply chains and how companies are looking for other options to ship their products.
The vessel has been inspected but will require essential work to bring her up to commercial standards. The barge shape of the ship has a hull with a fairly flat bottom that will be suitable for transporting 50-70 tons of cargo. Additionally, there will be accommodation for up to 12 paying passengers.
When De Tukker enters service with EcoClipper on the North Sea Trade, the vessel will be the first of a proposed fleet of vessels which will include modernized, purpose-built sailing vessels, trading on a range of routes.
Sailboats operate in the North Sea, but there are currently no vessels dedicated to operating a fixed ‘line’ service for sustainable shipping.
According to CEO and Founder of EcoClipper BV, Captain Jorne Langelaan, “we have already been approached by a wide range of companies looking to ship their product sustainably”.
He added “With this purchase, EcoClipper will be in a good position to start providing this service in an environmentally friendly way. Overall, De Tukker should be an excellent vessel to start putting the operational vision into practice. of EcoClipper.”
After De Tukker’s cargo days in the North Sea, the coaster in the 1980s became a Dutch sailing training ship. This led to a career well known for her work with disadvantaged young people. The need for major repairs however ended this role in 2012, but with modernization will see the return of De Tukker and the return to the freight business.
The renovation will require work on the hull, a new deckhouse must be built and an upgrade of systems in addition to the rigging will take place.
A fundraising campaign has been launched by EcoClipper Coöperatie UA to enable investors to become co-owners of the fleet on routes also outside Europe.
In order to develop and expand the fleet, EcoClipper’s strategy is based on investing in one vessel at a time. Funding is being sought from investors through issued certificates, with the first tranche aimed at purchasing the modernized De Tukker.