Sweden's 17th century warship gets a facelift
Friday 11 March 2011
Sweden's 17th century royal warship Vasa, which sank in 1628 and was brought to the surface three centuries later, on Thursday began undergoing a major refurbishment, museum officials said.
The ship - which is housed in a special museum built over an old dry dock that is one of Stockholm's most popular tourist attractions - will receive an anti-corrosion treatment and get the 5,000 bolts lodged in its hull replaced.
"We need to remove the iron and the rust from inside the wood and replace (the bolts) by stainless steel that will not leak into the wood," Vasa Museum head Marika Hedin said.
The Vasa's hull was weakened by the pollution it was exposed to during the 333 years it spent on the Baltic Sea seabed after sinking in the Stockholm harbour on its maiden voyage.
The pollution, combined with the iron of the original bolts and rust, provoke "a chemical reaction that destroys the wood," Hedin explained.
The 5,000 new bolts, made of an alloy of chrome and nickel, will take five years to replace.
Neither the museum nor Swedish engineering firm Sandvik, which is providing the bolts, would say how much the refurbishment was set to cost.
Magnus Olofsson, who is in charge of the ship's conservation, explained the Vasa was built with many layers of oak, and that some of the bolts had to be two meters long, "to keep each piece of wood in the right place."
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 (105 feet).
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.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Britain First 'acting like Ukip henchmen' by invading meeting of activists in revenge for pub protest against Nigel Farage
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
- 4 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 5 A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Exclusive: British roads and airports ready for rush as record-breaking numbers set to travel this Easter
The Atlas of Beauty: Photographer travels around the world to capture cultural diversity through stunning portraits of women
The 10 Best hiking boots
Tenerife: A new air route to unspoilt beaches, fishing villages and hiking trails
Top 10 street names in the UK
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
£25,000 - £30,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a fantastic opportunity...
£25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...
£23000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Project Accountant (Part-...
£23,000: Beverley James: Do you have a background in hospitality and are you l...