A Dutch carpenter who built his own replica of Noah's Ark has announced plans to sail the 2,500-ton vessel to Israel (though, minus the animals).
The ark's builder, Johan Huibers, 60, a devout Christian from the Netherlands, said it looks like the original: "I created a replica true to the original ark described in Genesis."
The vessel took over four years to build. Huibers began working on the ark's construction back in 2008, with the help of seven assistants. The cost of its construction was $1.6 million, a sum covered entirely by donations.
Huibers says he built the ship according to ancient dimensions detailed in the book of Genesis: "three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits" (Genesis 6).
The final product is 125 meters long, 29 meters across, and 23 meters in height. Weighing about 2,500 tons, the boat even contains life-size figures of animals.
Currently anchored in the port city of Dordrecht in the Netherlands, the ark instantly became a tourist attraction."We want to tell people about God," the Dutchman, who worked with a team of 50 employees, told AFP during construction. "We wanted to build something that can help explain the Bible in real terms."
In an interview with the Jewish news agency JTA, the devout Christian said he intends to sail the ship to Israel.
“My preferred destination for the ark is Israel… this is a copy of God’s ship. It only makes sense to take it to God’s land," he said, holding a copy of the Bible in Dutch. Since the ship doesn’t have an engine, it will have to be towed, the total cost of which is estimated at $1.3 million—but the designer believes he would be able to raise all of it.
“I love the county, I love the people. They don’t obey, they do what they want, and they drive like mad, shove while waiting in line and don’t listen to anyone. Just like me,” Huibers quipped.