11.06.01 - Modern Noah's Ark to Set Sail for Olympics
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Summary: Life-sized replica of Noah's Ark to sail up Thames for 2012 games... complete with animals

Like the Biblical original, it is 450ft long, 75ft wide and, when finished, will be packed with animals that enter two by two.

If all goes to plan, the modern-day Noah’s Ark will make its way up the Thames at the end of its maiden voyage next year, 4,000 years after the original is said to have set sail.

The vessel’s Dutch creator, Johan Huibers, has written to London Mayor Boris Johnson to ask for permission to moor it in the capital during the Olympic Games.

The 60-year-old construction company owner said he hopes his ark, telling the story of Noah and with live and model animals inside, will inspire schoolchildren.

‘It is to tell people that there is a Bible and that, when you open it, there is a God,’ he said. According to the Bible, God set out to punish the world for its wickedness with an all-consuming flood, sparing the blameless Noah and ordering him to build a vast lifeboat for his family and a pair of every animal.

Mr Huibers decided to build his 3,000 ton vessel nearly 20 years ago after having a dream about a great flood swamping Holland which he saw as a signal to spread God’s message.

Despite his wife’s resistance, he finally started construction three years ago on the river at Dordrecht, near Rotterdam, using the exact dimensions of the ark which Noah is said to have built.

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