At the best possible moment, the Viking Ship Museum has received a financial shot in the arm that will give the Sea Stallion the best possible circumstances when the ship sails from Dublin to Roskilde next summer.
Even before completing the choice of crew, the Viking Ship Museum can say: “Support vessel ready”. The donation of DKK 3m from the Nordea Denmark Foundation means the Museum can lease the perfect support vessel for the home trip.
“The cost of renting the support vessel is by far the biggest item on the budget for the voyage. High levels of safety and communication mean high costs. But we cannot compromise on safety, and communication with the surrounding world is a central part of the exercise. So we have no choice: we must have a support vessel for the Sea Stallion the whole way from Dublin to Roskilde,” says the Director of the Viking Ship Museum, Tinna Damgård-Sørensen.
“The Nordea Denmark Foundation’s donation means we can rent the best possible ship for the project, and we chose the diving and cable ship, Cable One, which sailed with the Sea Stallion from Roskilde to the Orkneys last summer on the way to Dublin. Now we can be sure of a very high level of safety and communication with the very professional crew on board Cable One.
The primary job of the support vessel is to be a rescue and stand-by ship for the Sea Stallion in the event of accident or shipwreck. The 60 members of the crew on the world’s largest reconstruction of a Viking longship face a route home from Dublin to Roskilde over open sea with strong tides. So even though the ship has proved incredibly seaworthy, we can take no chances.
“The other main job is to ensure optimal conditions for communication. Last year we found that we needed a secretariat close to events but that it was sometimes almost impossible to manage the Museum’s news dissemination on board the Sea Stallion. On an open ship in pouring rain six out seven days a week, the Museum’s press officers had incredibly difficult conditions in which to deal with the media. So the plan is to install the press and communication workers on the support vessel,” explains Tinna Damgård-Sørensen.
The ship will also bring a mobile exhibition for use in harbours the Sea Stallion visits. Education is central to the project and there is enormous interest in the ship everywhere the Sea Stallion comes. And next time the Sea Stallion sets course, it will be through some of the most heavily populated parts of Europe – the English Channel and London.
The Director of the Nordea Denmark Foundation, Torben Klein, says: “We are happy that the Nordea Denmark Foundation can help the Viking Ship Museum carry through the voyage home with the Sea Stallion from Dublin to Roskilde next year. At the Foundation, we are impressed with the results achieved in the first part in 2007, and we look forward to following the rest of this beautiful and ambitious experimental archaeology project. It will be exciting to see the results as they are processed and explained over the coming years.”
“We are incredibly happy about this donation, which both solves a big problem and tells the rest of the world that this project is important and worth supporting. We still need about DKK 7m to fulfil our ambitions for next year’s voyage, but the Nordea Denmark Foundation’s contribution strengthens our belief that we will make it,” concludes Tinna Damgård-Sørensen.
Af: Preben Rather Sørensen