Ancient ship completes two-year African Odyssey

A replica of a 600BC wooden ship has docked after a 17,000 mile trip around Africa

A wooden ship has completed a 17,000 mile circumnavigation of Africa, recreating a journey undertaken by an ancient mariners in 600BC.

The project to build a replica of a traditional Phoenician wooden ship was conceived by Philip Beale, a former British Royal Naval Officer and entrepreneur.

It is the first time a replica boat from this culture, which was based in modern day Lebanon, Syria, and Israel, has ever been built and organisers say it proves that the Phoenicians were master sailors and navigators.

The two-year journey was completed in two stages using modern navigational equipment to try and avoid the seven-metre waves, gale force winds and pirates that are known to frequent the area.

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In 2008 the replica ship Phoenicia departed from Syria sailed east as far as Yemen. After a short break, the crew headed past Oman and Mozambique, around the Cape of Good Hope, out to the Azores, and through the Straits of Gibraltar via Tunisia, Malta and Lebanon to the final port of Arwad.

Work on the boat was carried out using traditional Phoenician construction methods, materials and the designs were based on evidence from shipwrecks and archeological finds.

The trip will be featured in a documentary called ‘Ancient Worlds’ to be shown on BBC2 in the autumn.

Beale and the 13-strong international crew will sail the vessel to London next year.


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