Spanish training vessel Juan Sebastian de Elcano arrives in Rio

Rio de Janeiro, Feb 23 (EFE).- The Spanish navy’s training vessel Juan Sebastian de Elcano arrived in Rio de Janeiro for the 31st time on its 95th training voyage, a trip that includes six Latin American ports and will conclude in the United States.

“For the students, it’s something new” and provides the opportunity “to see a rather different culture,” although Spain and Brazil are countries with “common roots,” the commander of the vessel, Manuel Garcia Ruiz, told reporters.

The ship – a four-masted schooner – arrived from Cadiz and after a month of navigating around the Atlantic Ocean is making its first stop at a Latin American port on this voyage.

Garcia Ruiz said that the voyage will continue on to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Punta Arenas, Chile, from where the sailing vessel will continue 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 base at Cadiz, with its arrival there expected for July 21.

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.

Garcia Ruiz said that “the students are undergoing their training every day,” including taking “military” and “mechanical engineering” classes, as well as courses on “astronomical observation of stars and the sun” to determine their location at sea, “according to ancient custom.”

The training vessel, considered to be a sort of “floating embassy” for Spain, will remain in Rio de Janeiro and be open to visitors until Feb. 27, when it will continue its voyage to the Argentine capital, its second port of call, and where it is expected to arrive on March 8.

EFE ed/bp

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