A WOODEN CARGO SHIP, STEAMING HOT UNDER A TROPICAL SUN

A WOODEN CARGO SHIP, STEAMING HOT UNDER A TROPICAL SUN

A WOODEN CARGO SHIP, STEAMING HOT UNDER A TROPICAL SUN

Author: Shani Meintjes

Ceiba has been under steady construction ever since her keel was laid on January 8th, 2019. A wooden cargo ship, square-rigged, powered by the wind, and a back-up electric engine, her three masts will propel ethically-sourced cargo from her homeport in Costa Rica via Hawai islands as far north as Alaska before returning southbound via Canada, the mainland USA, and Mexico. 

Today, long wooden planks enter the custom-made steam box powered by the shipyard’s endless pile of offcuts before being clamped inside the hull, ready to be fixed in place. By the time the year reaches a close, all the remaining frames will be installed, rendering Ceiba’s outline complete, stem to stern. Steaming, planking and deck-beams will continue to take the 40-strong team into the new year, forming the hull’s curves, adding layers and depth to the build as it begins to take shape.

Despite all the challenges, 2020 has been a successful collection of months, a shipyard full and buzzing with life and work. The diverse crew is prooud of the gardens flourishing with consistent harvests of fruits, vegetables, roots and herbs, and a clay oven filled with fresh bread. New tree seedlings now sit ready, waiting for the next rains before being put into the ground, as the annual tree-planting season came successfully to a close. However, AstilleroVerde is working hard to produce viable foods to supplement the diet by implementing an experimental huerta comunitaria. It increases input into the existing shipyard gardens and strives continually to create and support a “low-mileage”, more regenerative, and nutritious food-production-system. 

SailCargo Ceiba Wooden Cargo Ship

The project has shown resilience as it supports the surrounding community by providing stable job opportunities and improving local food security. Due to the consistent flow of investment that allows work to remain ongoing and the team’s determination, without whose backing, none of the progress thus far would have been possible.

October saw the first cargo campaign completed, rendering Ceiba’s northbound voyage full and efficiently meeting the high demand for value-added, Central American products in colder climates. Yet, the southbound voyage is still seeking additional Letters of Intent to render her hold full of high-quality products to meet potential demand in warmer latitudes. In the words of Marilyn Valverde, founder of Mar y Comercio and head of SAILCARGO INC.’s Trade and Logistics Division, “we have been reaching out to Costa Rican businesses to introduce the culture of sailing goods. We are optimistic in the pursuit of providing clean transport to products where traceability is an added value, cherished by the customer, and that naturally benefits our cargo partners.”

Operational from 2022, Ceiba will launch into the Pacific Ocean, pushing the pressing agenda of emission-free trade to support all life and the planet we depend on for many years to come. In the jungle shipyard, the belief is that not only is it important to be merely emission-free, it is also vital to show larger, for-profit companies that shipping in this way is a viable option.

SailCargo Ceiba Wooden Cargo Ship

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Posted in Discover South Pacific.