Solar boat recharges in Phuket
PHUKET: It seemed only fitting that Phuket put on a glorious display of sunshine for the arrival of the MS Turanor, the world’s largest solar powered ship, on Sunday.
Friday 28 October 2011, 05:36PM
Developed as part of the PlanetSolar project, the Turanor has made the journey to Thailand all the way from Monaco in just over a year using only energy from the sun, docking at Phuket’s Ao Po Grand Marina for a brief four-day visit.
On Tuesday, a small group of delegates and curious boat enthusiasts were able to get an up-close tour of the multi-hulled ship.
Swiss Ambassador to Thailand, Christine Schraner Burgener, said “Doesn’t it remind you of dreaming of space travel, of science fiction at its best? This boat is the future of clean travel.”
On board the ship itself, the crew are not travelling rough. With a maximum capacity of 40 people, the current crew of just five men have plenty of room to move, while most visitors were struck with envy by the well-fitted and relatively luxurious interior, despite the ship’s captain, Erwann Le Rouzic, insisting that they “don’t have much free time”.
Speaking more seriously, Raphaël Domjan, the Initiator and Expedition Leader of PlanetSolar, said the journey was an important one.
“We are not carrying passengers, but we are carrying a message: We have the technology to change our ways. We have the technology to make our planet a better place. But we need everybody to spread this message in order to help save the planet,” he said.
“Some people tell you that solar technology is expensive. Yes, but to do nothing will be much more expensive.”
The ship left Phuket waters on Wednesday bound for Sri Lanka. It still has another 10,000 miles or so to go – six more months on the water – until it returns home to Monte Carlo.
When it arrives, it will be the first solar powered vessel to ever circumnavigate the world.