A sailing ship has become the first since the 1970s to be authorised as a commercial cargo carrier, and is now looking for cargo to carry.

The Sea-Change Sailing Trust, which owns the Blue Mermaid sailing ship has received permission from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for the vessel to carry cargoes of up to 110 tonnes, between Lowestoft and Sandwich – and up the Thames.

The sailing ship trust, which provides training and education for young people and vulnerable adults is working with Brightlingsea based Essex Cement to carry cargo within its authorised range.

Sea-Change’s executive officer, Richard Titchener, said: “If you need cement anywhere on the Thames (or anywhere between Lowestoft and Sandwich), please get in touch. You will not only cut carbon emissions, but also be helping us in our work to train and develop young people in need.”

One full load by sailing ship can remove the equivalent of 4 articulated lorries from the road. So if you know someone in need of a regular delivery of cement in London – let them know it can now arrive by sailing ship.

The charity hopes to expand the service to cover other light freight in the future.

In 2022, a total of 200 mainly young or vulnerable people took to the water aboard the Blue Mermaid with the Trust. The last commercial cargo to be carried by a UK-registered sailing vessel was 100 tonnes of cattle cake, which set sail from Tilbury to Ipswich aboard the Cambria in 1970.


Be the first to know what's on in London, and the latest news published on ianVisits.

You can unsubscribe at any time from my weekly emails.

Tagged with:

This website has been running now for over a decade, and while advertising revenue contributes to funding the website, it doesn't cover the costs. That is why I have set up a facility with DonorBox where you can contribute to the costs of the website and time invested in writing and research for the news articles.

It's very similar to the way The Guardian and many smaller websites are now seeking to generate an income in the face of rising costs and declining advertising.

Whether it's a one-off donation or a regular giver, every additional support goes a long way to covering the running costs of this website, and keeping you regularly topped up doses of Londony news and facts.

If you like what you read on here, then please support the website here.

Thank you

  1. G porter says:

    Great to see this I really hope you become the start of a trading success.

  2. Sue Harris says:

    This is brilliant news.

  3. dick durham says:

    Well done…you’ve come a long way from the re-enactment of Cambria’s last trading passage, which you did well to organise. Now, let’s hope we will see Blue Mermaid’s topsail regularly, as Bob Roberts used to say : ‘In winter and summer, in darkness and in daylight,’ delivering cargoes on the East Coast once more.

    • Ed Robinson says:

      This will be a fitting tribute to all the barges that plied the East Coast and further afield. It must mean such a lot to you Dick after sailing one of the last trading barges.

  4. Bob Pugh says:

    Nice to see this going ahead. The article is a bit annoying in it’s continual reference to sailing ship when it’s a sailing barge. It’s sobering to think that these operated with a crew of two, with a third man if bridges needed to be shot to help lower the mast. As a sail trainer there will be some fighting over who gets a rope!

Home >> News >> London News