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Plan to build replica of Chinese admiral Zheng He's ship runs aground

Published on Jun 16, 2014 1:15 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - An ambitious Chinese plan to build a replica of 15th century explorer Zheng He's "treasure ship" has run aground, reports said on Monday, with some questioning whether the vessel will ever sail.

According to the state-run China Daily newspaper, work began in 2005 on the replica, which, if completed, would be the world's largest handmade wooden ship.

Yet the 71.1-metre-long vessel now stands half-finished at a shipyard in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing, with those involved in the project offering conflicting explanations for the delay.

Admiral Zheng He, China's most famous sailor, embarked on a two-year expedition in the 1400s that took his fleet of 300 ships and 30,000 men as far as Africa.

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