2 June 2016 - From: The Bonaire Reporter

In April, Fonds Voor Cultuur Participatie (Funds for Cultural Participation) in the Netherlands awarded Fundashon Patrimonio Marítimo Boneiru (Bonaire Maritime Heritage Foundation) €56,022 ($63,610) for Project Stormvogel. The foundation has been seeking funds for the historic restoration of Stormvogel, the last of the sailing cargo boats of the ABC Islands. The 45-foot ship, built in Bonaire in 1951, was rescued from a backwater in Curacao where it was rotting.

Later it was shipped to Kralendijk free of charge by Don Andres Shippers in March 2015. Since then, the foundation has been raising funds locally and slowly restoring the boat.

But this grant allows the foundation to move forward at a more rapid pace. “We really needed these funds for materials— planking, beams and decking— to complete the build,” says Johnny Craane, head of the restoration. “But the money is also going to further our existing Junior Shipwright program where youth help rebuild Stormvogel. We’ve had over 50 students participate and we now expect to double that number. We will also be creating a Web site where education materials will be accessed and go to schools in Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire, reaching over 1000 students.”

Fonds Voor Cultuur Participatie does not normally fund restoration projects. However, their advisement committee listed several reason why the Project Stormvogel application was successful. The project was considered relevant because the knowledge of restoration will be given to a new audience— the young people. Plus, the committee liked that the knowledge from senior boat builders will be passed on to young  people and the process will be documented on film. Lastly, the project was found to be significant since it connects with tourism, education and job opportunities in meaningful ways. The $63,000 grant is about 48% of the estimated two-year budget to complete the restoration and educational outreach  ctivities. “In our application to Fonds Voor Cultuur Participatie we proposed to raise the other 52% of the budget locally,” says Patrick Holian, the  oundation’s secretary and chief fundraiser. “To date we have received money from BOPEC, Cargill Salt, and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, plus a number of businesses and individuals here on Bonaire. The support has been fantastic, but we will need others to contribute in the future to successfully complete Project Stormvogel.”

Once the boat is finished, it will become a nautical museum, eventually a floating one, that celebrates Bonaire’s rich maritime culture. Visitors will be given on-deck tours, and below deck films, photos and sailing artifacts will be on display. “We also want to use Stormvogel as a training vessel to teach kids seamanship, navigation and experience the thrill of sailing this great ship just like their ancestors did decades ago,” adds Craane. “And we have plans to sail on goodwill tours to Curacao and Aruba to share with the people there our common past. It wasn’t very many years ago that these boats provided our only connection to each other. They provided vital links for our island societies.” If you would like to contribute to Project Stormvogel, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2016 multipics

For the original article click here.