*** ----> Sweden splashes out to save its unluckiest warship | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Sweden splashes out to save its unluckiest warship

AFP |  Stockholm, Sweden 

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Sweden is embarking on a colossal four-year project to safeguard a nearly 400-yearold warship that is the centrepiece of its famous Vasa Museum.

The ship, one of Stockholm’s main tourist attractions, sank on its maiden voyage in 1628 and remained at the bottom of the sea until it was salvaged in 1961.

“We want Vasa to be preserved for the future,” project manager Peter Rydebjork told AFP. Despite the long delicate recovery operation, the ship “started to deteriorate faster” once it emerged from the sea after three centuries, he said.

In one of the most embarrassing naval calamities ever, the Vasa capsized only 15 minutes into its maiden voyage because of a design flaw, costing the lives of several dozen crew members. Stopping the movement - After being protected by mud and the brackish waters of the Baltic Sea for three centuries, preserving it while on display at one of Stockholm’s most popular museums has proved more complicated.

The wood has contracted over the years, and the ship is being compressed due to gravity. It is also tilting slightly to port. “We have to stop the movement,” Rydebjork said. Work on building a new support structure began in April to replace the fragile current one.

The first phase of the project, dubbed “Stotta Vasa” (Support Vasa), is to stabilise the wreck. Then comes the creation of a structure to support its weight and finally the ship will be righted.