By Conor Golden, News Editor for A.M. Costa Rica
Just north of Puntarenas in the area around Punta Morales, a group of shipwrights is hoping to build a cargo freighter. The difference with this one, however, is that this vessel will be carbon-negative and run using the wind in its sail and the power of an electric battery.
SAILCARGO Inc. is a company headed and founded by Danielle Doggett, who has been sailing tall ships since she was at least 13 years old.
The Kingston, Ontario, native has had stints on sailing cargo vessels from Barbados to experience both as chief mate, sailor and captain for launch with ship companies, she said. The company is an associate of the International Windship Association and its Costa Rican branch is called Ceiba S.A.
According to design plans given to A.M. Costa Rica by the group, the Ceiba is also the name for the carbon-negative marine freight vessel the group wants to build. The ship will run on the power of the wind using sails like vessels of old before the advent of steam and coal power.
It will not be completely reliant on wind and weather as the electric engine will run on solar battery banks onboard that will be charged using the ship’s propeller when sailing, a statement from the group said.
Ms. Doggett hopes that the moves her company is making towards building this vessel will inspire change within the cargo freight and shipping industries to use alternative, and environmentally sustainable, means of transporting goods on the oceans. The industry is one of the least regulated yet highly-damaging at the same time, she said.
“We are a carbon-neutral and socially responsible for-profit corporation, and we hope to show that if shipping is to continue, there needs to be a huge shift in the way that people do business,” Ms. Doggett said. “Tallships like Ceiba are sustainable now and have always been sustainable. We have not been cutting down trees where there are any other options available.”
With the vessel being constructed of wood, the group said that it will start a reforestation project to ensure the replacement of trees for any that were cut for materials.
The group is looking for investors beginning this Thursday. In addition to the build site in Punta Morales that has two existing waterfront entrances, the company also maintains transport equipment, capital and a group of three project managers overseeing the employees. These include: Ms. Doggett as CEO, Lynx Guimond as the master carpenter and Pepijn van Schaik as naval architect.
“We have kicked-off a system where more working boats of this kind can be built entirely of lumber planted for this purpose,” Guimond said in a statement. “Ceiba launches in 2020, and we will be aiming to start another build soon after.”
With the Costa Rican Pacific coast as their homeport, Ceiba and any future vessels are expected to sail along the Pacific Exchange Line mapped and planned by the group.
This includes a radius to include Hawaii, Perú and California. SAILCARGO said that the cargo should account for 84 percent of the revenue and 54 percent of gross income going back to shareholders.
“We would love to have our own fleet and bring back traditional knowledge of shipbuilding to Costa Rica,” Ms. Doggett said.