The man who built a massive replica of Noah’s Ark has said he plans to sail it all the way to Israel. Dutch builder Johan Huibers wants to tow the vast structure of pine and cedar wood across the Atlantic, but has been hampered by spiraling costs.
Despite this significant obstacle, at the top of his destination list is the promised land itself. The entrepreneur told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that his “preferred destination for the ark is Israel,” according to Jewish News.
“It may sound scary, but I believe everything written in this book, cover to cover,” he added, holding his Bible aloft. “This is a copy of God’s ship. It only makes sense to take it to God’s land.”
Such a trip won’t come cheap, however — Huibers has estimated the cost of such a voyage to be around the $1.3 million mark.
Through the “Ark of Noah” attraction Huibers hopes to bring “the experience of hope through the teachings of Jesus Christ to visitors worldwide.” According to the ship’s website, “hundreds of thousands” of people have already visited the massive boat. Currently, the 5,000-person capacity vessel has been sailing much closer to home, offering tourist rides on the Maas River in The Netherlands.
Huibers was 24 when he had a powerful encounter with God, which led him to engage in ministry work around the globe. But it was one night, as he read the story of Noah to his kids, that the dream of building an exact replica of the ark was truly born. Measuring 390 feet long and 75 feet high, the ship took four years to construct at a hefty price of 4 million euros.
Huibers’ vast building project made headlines in January of this year after it came loose from its mooring and crashed into several smaller boats in the Dutch port of Urk.
A group of people plus a couple of animal species were aboard the vessel at the time when it broke free during a fierce storm on Jan. 3. The craft was tethered to a set of large boulders, but these proved ineffective when 70 mph gale-force winds struck the small town.
Seven people onboard were rescued by the Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution (KNRM), while one rabbit and a pair of snakes were left on the boat.
In June 2016, the ark crashed into a Norwegian Coast Guard vessel in Oslo Harbor, causing severe damage to its structure.