The Sail Transport Network connects people – locally and across oceans – who are building community resilience by reviving heirloom technologies that will enable them to thrive in a fossil fuel-depleted, climate-disrupted world. We are the people – traders and sailors, farmers and craftsmen, artists and merchants – who will continue to tie your world together even as fossil fuel-based transportation recedes into the smoggy past.

Noah’s Ark Gone Awry

Note: This report is Article #1 in our new Responsible Shipping Series. Author: Charlene Caprio

Transport by sea carries about 90% of the world's trade. Consumerism is fueled by vast choices; sometimes very selfish ones. Smugglers often push not just inanimate contraband, but also wildlife (flora and fauna) in whole or in their parts by sea transit. As our readers also know, today's dirty bunker fuel-powered cargo ships are able to supply massive cargo capacity due in part by a web of oil subsidies and lax regulations concerning pollution of the air and seas, as well as “flags of convenience" loopholes.

But illegal trafficking of wildlife, and shipping as a transit source for the trafficking, is starting to get the attention it needs.

Good News/Bad News for Consumers in an Increasingly Energy-Challenged, Shipping-Dependent World

Oil-Dependent Maritime Shipping Is Achilles Heel in Hoped-for Renewable Energy Economy 

Here is good news and bad news for getting your cherished consumer goods shipped across the seas. Hadn’t thought much about it? Have you thought about the oil-dependent ships’ pollution and their readiness to switch to clean renewable energy? Well, they’re not ready, and even if they could be, they don't want to be.

Good news: by now you may have heard of the revival of sail transport for what is now a niche market of delivering near-zero-carbon goods.

Sail cargo's imminent achievement: Timbercoast's Steel Schooner, the Avontuur

My report and photo shoot from Germany last month after attending the Paris COP21 climate meeting:

Elsfleth, Germany, near the North Sea - This is the Timbercoast project, renovating the Avontuur that was built in the Netherlands in 1920.

I found that she is speeding on to re-launch, with much work being efficiently done. She will be the biggest sail transporter on the planet, with a 70-ton capacity ( = 3 twenty-foot containers). This 44-meter (length from tip of bowsprit to stern) schooner is getting a complete remake. This vessel was looking good to me from my visits to the holds and from observing the work on board and in the ship yard.

COP21 Follow-up for Sail Transport and Its Fight against Shipping Emissions and for Resilience

Frgn. Minister, Marshall Is.
Frgn. Minister, Marshall Is.

Section 1. - UN Climate Agreement Wrap-up

The Paris agreement is essentially a promise to make real promises later.

It is a positive development that the nations of the world agree to try harder (later, as promised). One key improvement over past Conferences of the Parties (COP) is that China (a so-called Developing Nation, even though it is the top emitter) has finally been joined with the U.S. and other Developed Nations, as to taking responsibility.

Shipping Emissions Must Be Tackled at COP21 with Advances such as Sail Power

[Note: this article was written by Charlene Caprio, Policy and Strategy Consultant for STN/SAIL

The UN Climate Conference in Paris (COP21) is well underway with positive momentum to adopt a new climate change agreement. The draft Paris agreement calls for parties to keep the global temperature well below 2°C (or below 1.5°C if this language is chosen) above pre-industrial levels. Each party shows how it will do its part by submitting an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC); 186 parties are represented so far in INDCs. Unfortunately, though, the INDCs fall short of getting us even to 2 °C.

Maritime shipping emissions must be part of the global solution.

Maine Sail Freight — America Gets Serious about Clean, Renewable Energy for Transport

Last month the traditional schooner, Adventure, sailed from Portland, Maine to Boston with 11 tons of local products. It has been many decades since a concerted sail-transport feat like this happened on the New England coast.

Maine Sail Freight is the first significant sail-transport project in two years in the uncrowded sail-transport scene in the U.S. This is still the story of how Northern Europe, with EU support, is running rings around North America in terms of sailing cargo and R&D. There is a new industry for the post-peak oil and greenhouse world, holding much promise for growth. So, one would think the U.S. must not miss the boat.

The Tres Hombres Ship is Homeward Bound

Pico, Azores
Pico, Azores

The world’s foremost cargo sailing ship, the beautiful square-rigged Tres Hombres, is now sailing back to Europe from the Dominican Republic.

Another successful round-trip voyage from The Netherlands to the Caribbean is coming to a close. The star example of zero-carbon shipping, the 32-meter brigantine Tres Hombres cargo sailing ship has made good progress across the Atlantic, and has left the Azores going northeast.

Tres Hombres Sails across the Atlantic Again, with Some New Twists

Under Captain Arjen van der Veen, the engineless 32-meter schooner brig Tres Hombres is arriving now in La Palma, Canary Islands. This is her sixth annual voyage across the Atlantic and back to Europe, carrying intensely desirable cargoes for discerning eco-savvy customers.

The tall ship started her voyage from her home port of Den Helder on Oct. 9. She first sailed to Stavanger, Norway to pick up a load of salt fish. From there she sailed to Brixham, UK, where she took on ale. Foul weather did not slow the ride; it made it faster.

Food Security, sail transport, and petroleum awareness: Radio interview with Jan Lundberg

From New York City and the region's young farmer movement:

Hear the half-hour show now at Greenhorns Radio, Episode 197, guest Jan Lundberg. Host: Severine Fleming, Director of Greenhorns.

Background for Sail Transport Network readers: Greenhorns partnered with the Vermont Sail Freight Project when it made its historic voyage down the Hudson River bringing food cargo last year.

SAIL MED Launched for Mediterranean Sail Transport of Cargo

In the fall of 2013, a dedicated group from Greece, the Netherlands and the U.S.A. formed a consortium - SAIL MED - to promote clean, renewable-energy transport (by sail) in the Mediterranean Sea region. With the EU-funded North Sea consortium "SAIL" now completing its mission to design a 150-meter Ecoliner, SAIL MED aims to further promote hybrid-sail cargo vessels for southern Europe.

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