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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 May 2007, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Merchant ship 'returns' to London
The Gothenburg
The Gothenburg will stay in London until 2 June
A replica of an old merchant trading ship has sailed along the Thames to be greeted by a full gun salute.

The ship, modelled on the original 18th Century Swedish ship the Gothenburg, fired her cannon to salute London at Tower Bridge.

HMS Belfast fired a full gun salute in return - the first salute she has fired since being berthed in London.

The Gothenburg has visited 13 countries during a two-year voyage recreating the Old East India trading routes.

The ship will be in London until 2 June, and the King and Queen of Sweden will visit it on Sunday.

Insurance claim

Work began to recreate her in 2002, using traditional materials and craftsmanship employed during the 18th Century.

The recreation used over 50km of planks, 70,000 hand-forged nails, 10,000 bolts, 1,000 rigging blocks and 10 cast iron cannons.

The original ship was last in the city in 1745 after setting sail for Sweden with cargo valued at more than Sweden's national budget.

But during her two-year voyage back to Scandinavia she sunk.

All the crew survived, picked up by the flotilla of small boats that sailed to greet the Gothenburg.

Most of the cargo was never salvaged, but claimed on insurance.

Swedish historians speculate the ship was deliberately wrecked as an insurance fraud, and believe the Captain and ship's owner sold the cargo in London.

Models parade across the Thames
18 Sep 05 |  London

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