Buenos Aires welcomes Spanish naval training vessel

Buenos Aires, Mar 8 (EFE).- The Spanish naval training vessel Juan Sebastian de Elcano on Wednesday docked in Buenos Aires with its crew eager to visi the Argentine capital after sailing for eight days from Brazil on the ship’s 95th training voyage.

“It’s a city we really wanted to come to. It’s a brother country, with which we have a great history, cultural, historic and linguistic links,” the commander of the Elcano, Manuel Garcia Ruiz, told EFE, adding that this will be his second time in the Argentine capital.

Buenos Aires is the third port of call for the 95th Training Cruise, with the Elcano setting sail from the southwestern Spanish port of Cadiz in January and, after a stop in the Canary Islands, sailing for a month on the high seas, crossing both the equator and the Atlantic Ocean under wind power alone, to make its second stop of the voyage in Rio de Janeiro.

“We’re very happy and proud of this voyage,” said the captain.

This is the 25th time that the Elcano has visited Buenos Aires, the last time being on its 92nd cruise in 2019-2020, before the coronavirus pandemic, and it will remain at this port until March 12, offering tours of the ship to the public on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The training vessel is considered to be a “floating embassy” as well as contributing to the training of the midshipmen on board.

Protocol activities include the captain paying courtesy visits to Argentine authorities and hosting a reception on board for those officials, the local Spanish community and representatives of Argentine civil society.

To be held on board the Elcano on Thursday will be an oath of allegiance ceremony for Spaniards living in Argentina.

“We have this vessel, which is a little bit of Spain, to offer them,” said Garcia Ruiz, adding that “It’s a boat where navigation is still practiced according to ancient custom.”

The vessel, 113 meters (371 feet) long with a beam of 13 meters and displacement of 3,770 tons, sails with a crew of 241 on board, of whom 74 are midshipmen with the Spanish navy and marines, who are in the third year of their naval careers.

Forty-three of the crew are women on this voyage, on which the four-masted schooner is visiting South America for the 16th time.

From Buenos Aires, the vessel will continue to Punta Arenas, Chile, from where it will sail to El Callao, Peru, and later traverse the Panama Canal and dock at Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, and then at Puerto Limon in Costa Rica.

From there, the Juan Sebastian de Elcano will head for the US port of Pensacola, Florida, and New York City, from where it will once again cruise the Atlantic en route to its home base at Cadiz, with its arrival there expected for July 21.

“On board, they have an intense, tough schedule … They have almost no free time, but they do enjoy the ocean on board,” said the captain.

For the past four years, the vessel has been collaborating with the University of Cadiz and Spain’s Naval Hydrographic Institute to observe whales and take water temperature readings on its voyages.

EFE vd/cmm/bp

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