On February 4th, the only Phoenician ship replica ever built docked in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after departing from Tunisia on September 23rd, 2019, in a 6,000-mile voyage to the United States.
Inspired by the Phoenicians, British adventurer Philip Beale, captain of the Phoenicia, set out on many journeys with his ship to collect knowledge and raise awareness on plastic.
From 2008 to 2010, he circled Africa, making the Phoenicia’s longest voyage. It searched through the ocean, collecting microplastics, from Carthage in Tunisia to Santo Domingo.
The Phoenicia ship along with Clean Seas' environmental program has become the face of plastic awareness, mobilizing governments to reduce the production and consumption of plastics.
Cleans Sea was launched by the United Nations Environment Program in 2017. Its goal is to start a global movement and raise awareness about plastic and microplastic in an attempt to reduce the single-use plastics.
UN Environment states that “by 2050, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish, and much of this is not visible to the naked eye. Today 83 percent of tap water contains plastic particles.”
Atif Butt, head of Advocacy of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) stated that the innovation of Phoenicia is the best approach to spread awareness.
"Humanity has benefitted hugely from the invention of plastic from transportation to the health sector. However, the plastic pollution problem is now out of control," he stated.
"Single-use, unnecessary plastics can be found everywhere, and our consumption of it is not slowing down." He further explained that a new substitute for plastic is needed as well as the help of the private sector and governments to prioritize the phasing out of disposable plastics.
The Phoenicians were seafarers and explorers, and also builders of the most efficient and stronger ships of the time. For 6000 years, they dominated with their trading businesses what is called today the Mediterranean Sea (back then the Phoenicia Sea).
They were known as leaders of the trading business, shipping from Phoenicia and also from all over the world, like gold from Africa and linen from Egypt. Homer praised them for their positions as dominant seafarers and so did Ancient Egypt in its numerous artworks.
According to the UN environmental program, ancient artifacts show that their trade route stretched from Ancient Britain through to Southern Europe and Western Asia. Their wide and far-reached enterprise made them the instigators of global trade.
The genetic research conducted in 2018 at the University of Otago in New Zealand and the Lebanese American University studies of the remains of ancient Phoenicians confirmed that they were explorers.
They are believed to have reached the perilous Atlantic and crossed to the Americas before Christopher Columbus.
There were many attempts to prove it, including this Phoenician Before Columbus Expedition, which has now been applauded for reaching Miami three days ago.
During the final stage of their seafaring, as they docked in the Dominican Republic, on December 31st (2019), the crew was happily surprised by a welcoming reception from the Naval Club and the Lebanese Cultural Centre; a musical welcome met by the waving of the Lebanese flag from the ship: