Page last updated at 14:14 GMT, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 15:14 UK
Eco-ship's timber cargo for Cardiff's Norwegian church
Councillor Nigel Howells and the Captain of the 'Tres Hombres' Arjen Van Der Veen
'Tres Hombres' is a specialist eco-freight carrier

Timber from Norway has been transported to Cardiff Bay to refurbish the city's Norwegian Church Arts Centre.

The cargo was brought from Cardiff's partner region of Hordaland County by Tres Hombres, a topsail schooner.

The ship is a specialist eco-freight carrier and part of a Dutch-based shipbroker which specialises in sustainable transport.

Building work starts in October to improve disabled access, public toilets and an outdoor decked area.

Cllr Nigel Howells, Cardiff council's executive member for sport, culture and leisure met the captain and crew of the ship whilst they were in Cardiff Bay, along with Hordaland's deputy mayor, Tom-Christer Nilsen.

"I had a chance to thank him in person for his county's generous and ongoing support for the Norwegian Church Arts Centre," said Cllr Howells.

"It's fantastic that we are going to be able to use Norwegian timber on the project and it is a great reminder of the friendship that links us."

A construction consultancy business partly sponsored the ship's journey to Cardiff describing the carbon neutral method of transport as complementing their energy cutting initiatives.

The 120 ft schooner has no engine and is purely sail driven.

Norwegian church - photo by Cliff Powell
The church was built in 1868 for sailors in the Norwegian merchant fleet

The traditional and environmentally friendly method of delivering the timber was also supported by the Mayor of Hordaland County Mrs Torill Selsvold Nyborg.

"We are delighted that the 'Tres Hombres' has been able to come to Bergen to collect our timber, and this green shipping service offers a perfect opportunity to link our tradition of building with wood with a traditional means of transport which also respects the environment," she said.

The Norwegian church was built in Cardiff Bay between the East and West docks in 1868 for sailors from the Norwegian merchant fleet.

It was closed and deconsecrated in 1974 but later relocated and reopened as an arts centre and coffee shop in 1992.

The late author Roald Dahl - born in Cardiff as the son of a Norwegian shipbroker - served as president of the church's preservation trust.

The church maintains active links with Norway - in particular Hordaland Folkeskommune - and the Welsh Norwegian society regularly meets there.

The church will close in October for building work to start and is due to reopen in the spring of 2011.

You can follow the building progress by visiting the Norwegian Church website .

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