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17th Century Dutch Ship Replica Destroyed In Blaze

07/30/09 09:59 AM ET   AP

Holland

AMSTERDAM — Fire consumed a replica of the 17th-century flagship of the Dutch East India Company in the northern Netherlands on Thursday.

The three-mast tall ship, which was built in the 1980s, was moored at Holland Village in Nagasaki, Japan, for many years before it returned to the northern Dutch port of Den Helder in 2003 and became a tourist attraction.

Dutch broadcaster NOS said the fire broke out on the Prins Willem early Thursday, but firefighters could not bring the blaze under control.

The cause of the fire was being investigated, but NOS said it may have been started by an electrical short circuit.

The original ship, built in 1649, was the largest ship of the Dutch trading company. It sank in 1662 off Madagascar.

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Filed by Susan Ryan  |