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Phoenicia Departs Port Sudan for the 'Pirate Zone'

by Business Wire on 20 Dec 2008
Phoenicia back in the water in Port Sudan Abdul Aziz
The Phoenicia, seeking to rediscover and document the secrets of ancient Phoenician mariners while circumnavigating the continent of Africa, are just about to depart Port Sudan in the Red Sea, heading towards the Gulf of Aden and the 'Pirate Zone'.

They had planned to stay for just 15 days, but it has taken two long months to make the changes to the ship that they think necessary to continue the voyage. First, they wanted to rebuild the aft end to insert a new and much larger thwart (a transverse support spreading the gunwales) to take the rudders. They also wanted to look at putting a small engine that will enable them to be less reliant on tows in and out of harbours. Compared to the ancients, the crew is quite small, and they lack the numbers to adequately row the vessel.




Now "Phoenicia" is ready once again to sail on the high seas. The crew have over come many challenges and frustrations during their time in Sudan and finally, after bringing Phoenicia into the dry dock, the new rudder housing is securely in place. A marinised 180 HP engine has been installed into the ship which will serve as an emergency/security back up and also help the crew to manoeuvre in and out of ports. Four new members of crew have joined the ship in Port Sudan and will be part of the core expedition crew. These are Niklas (from Sweden), Aziz, Sulhan and Suhra (all from Indonesia) – their skills include carpentry, welding, photography and of course they are all experienced sailors so they will be a huge asset to the 'Phoenicia' team.

Through the Pirate Zone

The next leg for the ship, which is taking on some new crew members in the Sudan, is to head for the Port of Aden in Yemen at the head of the Gulf of Aden. With piracy hitting the international headlines frequently over the past few months, and the crew about to embark upon a passage around the horn of Africa, they have been receiving more and more enquiries about what impact this will have on the expedition.

They have been working with the assistance of risk management company Drum Cussac over the last 12 months and want to assure supporters that they are taking the risk very seriously.

How would YOU like to join the crew in 2009? Or be involved in some other capacity?
If you're looking for some adventure in the New Year then there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved in the Phoenicia expedition no matter what your skills are. For budding explorers there are a few crew places left on forthcoming legs of the voyage (application forms on our website), you can follow the ship 'as live' from the Yellow Brick satellite tracker, interact with the crew on the Message Board and schools and young people can find out more about using the Phoenicia project as material in the classroom. Visit www.phoenicia.org.uk for more information on all of the ways that we invite you to be part of the adventure – and wish you a Happy New Year!

Aims of the Project:
First to build the ship as a faithful replica of ships of Phoenician times, the publicise their skills and assist preserve their ancient cultural heritage
Then to test the performance of the sailing ship in general, and document the exercise, while giving young adults a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a life-changing adventure.
Finally to sail the ship to the UK and exhibit the vessel in a leading museum

The trip so far:
The Phoenician Ship Expedition departed from Arwad, Syria in August, and sailed through the Suez Canal via Egypt to the Sudan. Later it intends to round the Horn of Africa and sail down the east coast. Negotiating the dangers of the Cape of Good Hope will be a critical point in the expedition. The voyage will continue up the west coast of Africa, through the Straights of Gibraltar and across the Mediterranean to return to Syria. The circumnavigation will involve 17,000 miles of sailing.

The Phoenicia Expedition is attempting to prove that the Phoenicians were the first people to conquer such a feat. Led by businessman and adventurer Philip Beale, the expedition is recreating the voyage of a 600 B.C. Phoenician vessel. This will put to rest the popular belief that Bartholomeu Dias was the first to sail around Africa in 1488. Philip Beale has previous experience with such a journey. In 2003, he set sail aboard the Borobudur, a recreation of another historical voyage from Indonesia to Africa. Beale has used his enthusiasm to inspire his crewmembers and encourage businesses to sponsor the trip. However, it is the quest for historical truth that drives the voyage forward.





Ports on the journey are:

Arwad, Syria
Tartous, Syria
Port Said, Egypt
Aden, Yemen
Mombassa, Kenya
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Beira, Mozambique
Richard's Bay, South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa
Accra (Tema), Ghana
Gibraltar
Carthage, Tunisia
Alexandria, Egypt
Tartous, Syria
Malta
Gibraltar
Falmouth, United Kingdom
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
London, United Kingdom






Key dates:



For more information about the Phoenicia Expedition, please visit www.phoenicia.org.uk

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