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Swedish tallship replica arrives on friendship voyage


The Gotheborg, a replica of an 18th century merchant ship that sailed the seas between Sweden and China, was welcomed yesterday by Shanghai officials at the International Cruise Terminal along the northern Bund after a journey that began in October.

Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip, Gothenburg Mayor Goran Johansson and other Swedish officials, who boarded the tall ship after its arrival, were greeted by Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng and Vice Mayor Tang Dengjie.

The Gotheborg will be moored along the Bund for the next two months as part of a maritime cultural festival, and local residents will be able to tour the vessel. Visiting times and ticket prices are still being worked out.

A series of exhibitions and seminars will also be held during the next two months to promote Swedish culture and the country's business ties to Shanghai.

The original Gotheborg, which was nearly 60 meters long, 47 meters high above its waterline and could carry 900 tons of cargo, was built in the 18th century when the Scandinavian nation was developing trade ties with the Far East.

In 1739, the vessel made her maiden trip to Guangzhou in south China. In 1745, as it returned from its third trip to China, the ship hit a reef and sank near Gothenburg's harbor.

The Swedish government salvaged the remains of the vessel in 1983 and 10 years later decided to build a replica at a cost of US$30 million.

The new Gotheborg left its home port on October 2 for a voyage meant to commemorate the friendship between Sweden and China. It made port calls in Spain, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and Indonesia. The last leg of the journey was between Guangzhou and Shanghai.

"It was an interesting voyage sailing around the world," said Joleif G. Stronen, watch leader of the ship's 60-plus sailors.

Stronen said he was glad to be in Shanghai, though he said the temperature was a bit too high for his liking.

Mats Fryxell, a businessman who flew in from Stockholm several days ago, was among those who greeted the ship on the Bund.

"This is really good for the relationship between Sweden and China," he said.

During its month-long stay in Guangzhou, the ship was visited at least 2.5 million times since it arrived in the city on July 18 and more than 80,000 people were allowed to board the ship, according to local tourism authorities.

(Shanghai Daily)