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Götheborg in London on final stop of epic voyage

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10:14 CEST+02:00
The Götheborg, an exact replica of the Swedish East India Company's 18th century vessel, has arrived in London on the last leg of its journey back from China.

The vessel, which set out from Gothenburg on 2nd October 2005, passed through Tower Bridge, and received a salute from HMS Belfast, a World War II Royal Navy ship moored on the River Thames.

The Swedish ship will be visited by the King and Queen of Sweden on Sunday. It will then stay in London for two weeks, three days of which it will be open to the public. It will then begin its voyage back to Gothenburg on 2nd June, expecting to arrive home on 9th June.

The Götheborg has visited countries including Spain, Brazil, South Africa and Indonesia during its voyage. The reactions of crowds in the countries it has visited have exceeded expectations, said Stellan Mjärdner, head of the Swedish East India Company Foundation, which is behind the project.

"There were risks - would the ship be able to sail, would the rigging hold, would the crew manage to live in such close quarters. There was also the risk that nobody would pay us any attention. But it has gone almost impossibly well," he said.

When back in Sweden, the ship will visit a number of Swedish cities, with a tour of the Baltic planned for next summer.

The original Götheborg sank in the Gothenburg Archipelago in autumn 1745. It was on its way home from its third voyage to China. The crew was saved, but the ship's cargo was lost.

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