Great news. We have been talking with Kiribati (Say Kee-ree-bahss) for a while now about this, and now it’s official: Our first Greenheart ship will fly the Kiribati flag.
That’s a Frigate bird flying over the waves at sunrise- one of the most lovely and inspiring sights I’ve seen at sea.. We are especially happy about this at Greenheart because of what Kiribati is, and what Kiribati does. We had plenty of time to choose a flag to fly under, and since there is no dominant nationality in our Greenheart group of people, we thought about the choice carefully. For us, Greenheart represents a truly global venture, with universal goals and an egalitarian attitude; it sort of goes against our grain to choose a nationality.
But a flag for a ship is more than a registration or mere passport, although it is necessary for international travel by sea. Surrounded by sea for weeks at a time, and often years before returning to a home port, the flag is a reminder and an inspiration for the sailors aboard, and our flag will fly and flap with us, day and night, calm and storm, at wharf side and in the middle of the ocean. Especially in the middle of the ocean, which is just what the Kiribati flag portrays- and just where Kiribati is. The only nation to occupy all four hemispheres, North, South, East and West, it will be flag that connects us with the whole global community.
More than that, Kiribati is also at the center of the campaign to urge communal action in the face of our recent discovery that our fuel-burning ways have caused our atmosphere to trap more heat, and our ocean to turn more acid. Kiribati is extraordinarily vulnerable to sea level increase, compounded by increased severity and frequency of tropical storms.
In this age of ‘flags of convenience’, when ships’ registries are chosen according to how much money they can save the ship owners in lax regulations and indifferent enforcement practices, we are proud to have the support of a country that will be much more than just a necessary administrative requirement.
We are lucky to be able to cooperate with Kiribati, a country that shares many of the same goals and perspectives with Greenheart. A seafaring nation that is the cultural repository of long-range sailing expertise, navigation, and other skills integral to our project, Kiribati is a very welcome collaborator.
We expect to be visiting the equatorial Pacific twice during our maiden voyage, so look forward to contributing to the research into best practices and sustainable technologies in the areas of fishery, cargo carriage, and eco-tourism. We will also be consulting with our new flag state about using our ship as a high-profile campaign platform for common causes. We really are looking forward to a long and exciting relationship.