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post #1 of 3 Old 05-21-2007 Thread Starter
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Fire consumes historic London ship

Fire consumes historic London ship

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The Cutty Sark, thought to be the world's only surviving 19th century tea clipper and a prime relic of the golden age of sail, was engulfed by flames Monday, causing extensive damage to the popular London tourist attraction.

Firefighters were called to the vessel -- closed to the public since last year for a $50 million restoration -- shortly before dawn as flames leapt from the decks.

"The crew knew it was a severe fire as we got 15 calls within a few minutes," Danny Cotton, a senior officer with the London Fire Brigade, told CNN.

By 0700 GMT, more than 40 firefighters had extinguished the blaze, but timbers from the burnt out hull of the 19th century vessel were still smoldering.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation, fire officers say.

The Cutty Sark was regarded as the pinnacle of merchant sail vessel development. Despite extensive restoration over the years, most of the hull was original.

More than 15 million people have visited the ship in its dry dock at Greenwich, a World Heritage Site on the southern bank of the River Thames. The vessel has been on display since the 1950s.

Chris Levett, chairman of Cutty Sark Enterprisesexternal link, said that although the ship's decks were "unsalvageable", the he believed the vessel could be fully restored, although there was now a question mark over funding.

He said half of the timbers and all historic artifacts on board had been removed for the conservation project.

"I do not think we can give a figure on how much this damage has cost," he told CNN. "We're in dire straits now."

He added: "This ship has been through many things in its life, it's sailed through the oceans and been through many natural disasters and survived.

"We're devastated. Lots of people on this project worked very hard and to see that effort go up in smoke is very hard."

Cutty Sark left London on its first voyage on February 16, 1870, sailing around Cape Hope to Shanghai. The ship made only eight voyages to China in the tea trade, as steam ships replaced sail on the high seas.

In 1885, the 85-meter (280 feet) ship achieved a record-breaking wind-powered voyage from Australia to England, completing the distance in 72 days.
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post #2 of 3 Old 05-21-2007
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I've just seen this news. Ahhhh ****. That is sad, very sad indeed, made worse by the fact that the English plod are now treating it as arson.

Now tell me good people, what sort of a sick **** would do something like that. Unbelievable.

Andrew B

“Life is a trick, and you get one chance to learn it.”
― Terry Pratchett, Nation

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post #3 of 3 Old 05-21-2007
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Especially to a glorious old lady like the Cutty Sark. I mean, c'mon now.
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