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EcoClippers Acquire First Sail Ship for Sustainable Shipping on North Sea 'Liner' Trade Routes

30th January 2022
Changing Tradewinds? - Dutch carbon emission-free shipping firm EcoClippers first acquired sailing ship De Tukker, is to undergo a refit to return the sail-trainee vessel to its original cargoship role while still under sail on the North Sea. This will also see paying passengers on routes between the UK and mainland Europe.  Changing Tradewinds? - Dutch carbon emission-free shipping firm EcoClippers first acquired sailing ship De Tukker, is to undergo a refit to return the sail-trainee vessel to its original cargoship role while still under sail on the North Sea. This will also see paying passengers on routes between the UK and mainland Europe. Credit: EcoClippers-twitter

A zero-carbon emission shipping company in the Netherlands has acquired this month its first vessel that will transport cargo as well as passengers under sail on the North Sea within the first half of 2022, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Alkmaar based EcoClipper has purchased the 1912 built De Tukker, a Dutch Sea Klipper also known as a 'Schoeneraak'. Originally, De Tukker traded in North Sea coastal cargoes and neighbouring waters before becoming a trainee sailing ship.

They plan to introduce this first converted ship to operate in sustainable shipping on the North Sea and serve the UK-mainland Europe routes while bringing to those seeking a more environmenal friendly travel experience. Also EcoClippers cite given in recent years the public's increasing awareness of the fragility of global supply-chains and how companies are seeking other options to ship their products. 

The vessel has been surveyed, though will require essential work to bring up to commecial trading standards. The ship's barge shape has a fairly flat bottomed hull that will suit carrying between 50-70 tonnes of cargo. In addition there will be accommodation for up to 12 paying passengers.

When De Tukker enters EcoClipper's service on the North Sea trade the vessel will be the first in a proposed fleet of vessels which will include retrofitted and purpose-built sailing ships trading on a range of routes.

Sailing vessels do operate on the North Sea, however currently there are no vessels dedicated to operating a fixed 'liner' service for sustainable shipping.

According to EcoClipper B.V. CEO and founder, Capt. Jorne Langelaan “we have already been approached by a wide range of companies looking to ship their product in a sustainable manner".

He added " With this purchase EcoClipper will be in a good position to begin providing this service in an environmentally friendly way. Altogether, De Tukker should be an excellent ship to start putting the operational vision of EcoClipper into practice.”

Following De Tukker's cargo days plying in the North Sea the coaster in the 1980 became a Dutch sail training vessel. This led to a well-known career for its work with disadvantaged youth. The need for major repairs however brought this role to an end in 2012, though with the retrofit will see a return of De Tukker and back to cargo trading. 

The retrofit will require work on the hull, a new deckhouse is to be constructed and an upgrading of systems in addition to rigging will take place.

A financing campaign has been launched by EcoClipper Coöperatie U.A. so to enable investors to become part owners of the fleet on routes also outside Europe. 

In order to develop and expand the fleet, the strategy of EcoClipper is based on investing in one ship at a time. Funding is sought from investors through certicates issued, with the first tranche aimed to purchase the retrofitted De Tukker.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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