Ancient merchant boat raised from South China Sea

Updated: 2007-12-21 19:55

YANGJIANG, Guangdong Province -- A merchant boat loaded with porcelain that sank off the south China coast 800 years ago was raised on Friday, one day earlier than planned.

The salvage operation kicked off at 9 a.m. when a huge crane began lifting a steel basket containing the 30-meter-long vessel, dubbed the Nanhai No. 1, or "South China Sea No. 1".

Two hours later the wooden wreck breached the surface and was placed onto a waiting barge.

Archaeologists launched an operation in May to build a steel basket around the boat to raise the wreck and the surrounding silt.

Local officials originally planned to hoist the boat on Saturday but changed their minds due to favourable weather conditions on Friday.

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