AFTER 17 days and nights at sea, a replica 600BC Phoenician ship has completed its latest passage on an expedition around Africa.

Phoenicia arrived at St Helena after a 1,693-mile voyage from Cape Town, South Africa on Wednesday morning.

Led by Dorset adventurer Philip Beale, the team of 11 international sailors are one step closer to their objective – recreating the first circumnavigation of Africa.

The aim is to recreate the historic voyage, believed to have been undertaken by Phoenicians more than 2,500 years ago, according to Greek historian Herodotus.

The project, which was conceived from Mr Beale’s base at East Chaldon, near Lulworth, has involved in-depth research into Phoenician history, ship construction and design as well as building the 20m wooden replica Phoenician ship in Syria.

Over the course of the past 18 months an international crew, of up to 16 people on any one leg, have battled against the elements to re-trace the Phoenicians’ ancient route.

Having already made a successful navigation of the Cape of Good Hope the crew are delighted to have arrived at St Helena where they will spend a few days on dry land restocking with fresh provisions and taking a short break from life at sea.

They will also invite a local school, who have been tracking their progress online, to visit the ship and learn about the project.

The next leg of the expedition is expected to be a challenge as they sail towards the Ascension Islands and the Azores.

The forthcoming leg will raise an interesting question in determining whether the Phoenicians visited the Azores in ancient times and how Phoenicia will handle the conditions of the mid-Atlantic Ocean.