Dutch zero-carbon sailing ship firm EcoClipper will operate its first vessel from mid-August carrying passengers and freight on routes across the North Sea, Channel and Bay of Biscay.

The 40m long De Tukker (built 2012) will be able to carry a maximum 70 tonnes of cargo and 12 passengers between ports including Amsterdam, London, Porto and Antwerp.

The ship is currently undergoing refit work at Talsma Shipyard in the Netherlands where its draught has been increased by an extended keel to provide more stable sailing.

Research is being carried out into installing a propeller generator and solar panels on the galley deckhouse to cover the onboard lighting system and navigation and further reduce fossil-fuel use, EcoClipper said.

The company added that it is talking to potential partners including broker New Dawn Traders, sailing holiday agent Classic Sailing and sustainable ferry service FairFerry. UK-based brokers Shipped by Sail and Raybel Charters have also been approached, it said.

EcoClipper was founded in 2018 by Captain Jorne Langelaan, co-founder of Fairtransport, and has plans to develop a fleet of sailing ships offering emission-free transport and travel worldwide.

Its three square-rigged mast EcoClipper500 prototype aims to carry 500 tonnes of cargo across global deepsea routes.

It will be a steel replica of the clipper Noach originally built in 1857 which has been called the fastest Dutch sailing vessel ever.

Langelaan said the De Tukker’s schedule provides a good mix of larger ports and small harbours. “This will increase visibility of the sail cargo and sail travel industries.”