• Sweden edition
 
New deterioration scare for Sweden's Vasa

New deterioration scare for Sweden's Vasa

Published: 13 Sep 2012 17:57 GMT+02:00
Updated: 13 Sep 2012 17:57 GMT+02:00

Sweden's famed 17th century Vasa warship, housed in a Stockholm museum, is deteriorating faster than previously believed despite renewed preservation efforts, researchers have warned.

"Our research shows that the strength [of the wood] has fallen dramatically. We didn't know this previously," Lars Berglund, a professor at the Wallenberg Wood Science Centre at Stockholm's Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) said in a statement.

The findings of Berglund and his team come after analyzing the effects of the polyethylene glycol (PEG) which was sprayed on the ship after it was lifted out of Stockholm's harbour in 1961, in combination with the effects of iron from nails and rivets as well as sulfur from decaying bacteria.

The researchers concluded the Vasa's wooden hull had been weakened by as much as 80 percent, suggesting that the loss of strength could have been a result of letting the ship dry out after it was recovered, prompting a reaction between oxygen and the iron in the wood.

On average, the wood of the Vasa only has about half of its original strength, the researchers found.

"This is also the first time that someone has shown that the breakdown has practical consequences. In other words, if you take an oak plank and put weight on it, it won't tolerate as much as it would have before," said Berglund.

The challenge now is to better understand exactly how Vasa's wooden structure is deteriorating and what to do about it.

"The first step now is the figure out how fast the breakdown process is and do a qualified risk assessment," Berglund told the TT news agency.

The Vasa was commissioned by Swedish King Gustav II Adolf in 1625 and was designed to be the mightiest warship in the world.

It was armed with 64 guns on two gun decks, but did not have enough ballast to counteract the weight and sank just minutes after setting sail on its maiden voyage.

A Swedish shipwreck enthusiast, Anders Franzen, located it in 1956 at a depth of 32 meters.

The ship was raised in 1961, and the museum built around the ship opened in 1990. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Scandinavia, with 1.1 million visitors annually.

TT/AFP/The Local

Follow The Local on Twitter

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

18:47 September 13, 2012 by Charon
Can someone please explain to me why the Vasa ship is something that is being showed off as a achievement in Sweden? The entire museum should if anything make Swedes ashamed of their own history. The ship SANK after 2 km on it's maiden voyage, and now it stands in a museum as something to show off?

I will never understand the logic of a "proud Swede".
20:48 September 13, 2012 by Emerentia
The ship itself isn't showed as a achievement, but a part of history. There are not many ships from that age left. And to salvage a ship of that size and age is an achievement actually.

Do you think that history only should be about "showing off" and things that were successful?
23:10 September 13, 2012 by dizzymoe33
I hope there will be a way to preserve it and not have any more deterioration happen.
00:55 September 14, 2012 by muscle
@Charon Its a brave thing to honor ones failures as well. Also, as #2 has stated, how the ship had been preserved till now, it was a big achievement as well.
04:05 September 14, 2012 by philster61
The fact that it is even able to be displayed at all is remarkable. Regardless of its own history it should preserved for history...
05:45 September 14, 2012 by jimfromcanada
I suspect the Titanic, if it could have been raised and preserved would have been as interesting an exhibit even though it was a failure in some respects.
06:08 September 14, 2012 by Da Goat
There is no problem here as the ship will not sail again so the strength of the wood is immaterial now, she will not ever face the waves EVER!
08:30 September 14, 2012 by Sven-Ingvar
Minimal treatment with copper sulphate solution should stop deterioration
10:56 September 14, 2012 by eltechno
@Charon. I think it is wonderful to celebrate Vasa. Not only is it a stunning example of craftsmanship (both the original builders AND the restorers) but it is such an excellent example of what goes wrong when folks confuse good design with mere decoration. This is clearly a lesson worth learning and Vasa is a fun way to learn it.
11:37 September 14, 2012 by Shibumi
The Vasamuseet is a world class museum. I have been 7-8 times and I think it is one of the coolest museums I have ever been to (and I've been to quite a few) and it should not be missed. Most Swedes I know have only been once on a school trip years and years ago, and they seem to undervalue it, IMHO.
Today's headlines
Woman charged after accusing beggar of theft
The people in this picture are not those from the story. Photo: TT

Woman charged after accusing beggar of theft

A woman in Gothenburg who accused a beggar of robbing her has been charged with fraud and false accusations. READ () »

Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
Photo: Kungahuset

Swedish royals set baptism date for princess

Sweden's royal family has set the date for the baptism of Princess Leonore. READ () »

The Local List
Evidence Game of Thrones is set in Sweden

Evidence Game of Thrones is set in Sweden

With Swedish Game of Thrones fans frothing at the mouth at the season four premiere, The Local revisits its list of ten reasons why the hit books and show are (probably) based in Sweden. READ () »

'Baffling' Swedish raid on German sub makers
The Kockums Malmö shipyard and FMV headquarters. Files: TT

'Baffling' Swedish raid on German sub makers

After the Swedish military raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp, a military expert tells The Local why recent Russian aggression means Sweden's Saab needs to take control of national submarine production. READ () »

Swedish kids crack adult content 'code' at school
A child, unrelated to the story, on her computer. File photo: TT

Swedish kids crack adult content 'code' at school

Swedish parents who busted their children looking at adult content online were shocked to find the kids saying 'they'd learned the code at school'. READ () »

Industry bellwether SKF recovers to turn profit
A file image of ballbearings. Photo: Shutterstock

Industry bellwether SKF recovers to turn profit

After a drab end to 2013, Swedish ballbearing makers SKF anew posted a profit in its first quarter review. It could spell good news for the manufacturing industry worldwide. READ () »

Swedish Hobbit actor jailed in cocaine case
Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt. File photo: TT

Swedish Hobbit actor jailed in cocaine case

Swedish actor Mikael Persbrandt has appealed a five-month prison sentence, handed down on Tuesday after he was found guilty of buying cocaine. READ () »

Property of the Week
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
The property in Skinskatteberg. Photo: Fastighetsbyrån

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

The Swedish countryside is littered with small second homes, many up for a steal if you can see beyond dated wallpaper and imagine a country retreat with chanterelles and lingonberries growing in your backyard. READ () »

Puppies lost in 'black market' chihuahua raid
A chihuahua papillon crossbreed puppy. File photo: Shutterstock

Puppies lost in 'black market' chihuahua raid

Thieves escaped from a flat in Malmö on Monday with jewellery, electronics, and four chihuahua-papillon puppies. Police worry the dogs will be sold on the black market, a growing trend in Sweden. READ () »

JobTalk Sweden
Sweden's worst office clichés revealed

Sweden's worst office clichés revealed

"We have to hit the brakes and the gas at the same time." Does your Swedish boss confuse you? You're not alone. Swedes have crowned that phrase as the worst workplace cliché of the year. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
Advertisement:
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Society
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
Society
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
Society
'Blondes have more brains': Swedish study
TT
Society
VIDEO: Leaked 'Save Slussen' film goes viral
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching, March 28-30
ESL
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

723
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com