Carbon-neutral shipping project gets boost

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A carbon-neutral cargo ship project based in Costa Rica is getting a little help from Salt Spring Island.

Steve Abbott, a local investor in the project, will be sending a crate filled with donated hand tools, a bandsaw mill and a giant ship saw to the site on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The mill and ship saw were both procured in the Gulf Islands, and Abbott is looking for any donations of usable wood and metalworking tools to send along.

“We’re hoping the shipment will go off in a couple of weeks. With these two sawmills it’ll be a 20-foot container,” Abbott said. “I’m going to send my wood lathe, which I haven’t used for a couple of years now. I’m anxious to invite people to send along any equipment that they have, be it woodworking or metal-working equipment that they feel might be useful down there, and we could add to that container.”

The ship, named Ceiba, will be built entirely using green practices. It is being constructed by Sail Cargo Inc. as the flagship for a line of carbon-neutral marine freight ships based in Central America. The timbers will be sourced from properly permitted logging — which is much more stringent in Costa Rica — and trees will be replanted as they are cut. The team also hopes to use as much windfall as possible, and will only use non-endangered tree species for the construction.

When finished, it will be 45 metres long with three large masts. The ship will resemble a traditional sailing ship, but it will also have modern additions to make travelling easier and more environmentally friendly.

“This is essentially a conventional tall ship with the modern conveniences added,” he said.

Those interested in donating tools for the ship are asked to phone Abbott at 250-931-7189. In addition to tools, they are looking for volunteers to help with construction and logistics of the project. Sail Cargo is also selling shares of the ship, which are available through their sailcargo.org website.

For more on this story, see the June 20, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.

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