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A replica Viking ship, the Saga Siglar, sailed into...

SYDNEY, Australia -- A replica Viking ship, the Saga Siglar, sailed into Sydney Harbor Thursday on the South Pacific leg of a two-year around-the-world voyage.

The ship is a hand-built replica of a 'knarr,' or deep sea trader, built by the Vikings about 1,000 years ago and made from local timbers.

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A flotilla of yachts and fireboats gave the Saga Siglar a colorful and noisy welcome as it sailed to its mooring at the Sydney Opera House.

The Royal Norwegian Consulate-General, Trygve Amundsen, and the New South Wales State Minister for Public Works, Leonard Brereton, welcomed the ship's crew to Sydney with a presentation of a Port of Sydney crest.

Saga Siglar, which means Sailor of Siga, left Stavanger, Norway, in June 1984 with a crew of eight captained by Ragnar Thorseth, a 36-year-old former journalist.

Thorseth said he had wanted to sail around the world in a Viking ship since he first sailed in a replica Viking ship across the North Sea to Britain 20 years ago.

'The trip so far has been mostly smooth sailing,' Thorseth said. 'But we have had some hazardous times.'

Thorseth is accompanied by his wife, Kari and his two sons, Njaal, 8, and Erik, 10.

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The crew is made up of three Norwegians, one South African and one American.

The modern-day Vikings plan to sail up the east coast of Australia along the Great Barrier Reef, through the Timor Sea and Asia, across the Indian Ocean to the Suez Canal to Europe and back to Norway, where the ship will go on display in a museum.

The main sponsor of the voyage is the Export Council of Norway.

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