Argentine sailing ship docks in Cape Town

Apr 30, 2008
Author: P&S


Cape Town, 29 April 2008 - Capetonians have until Friday to go on board one of the world's tallest and fastest sailing ships belonging to the Argentinean Navy.

Called the ARA Libertad, the vessel is currently in Cape Town until 2 May for a six-day goodwill visit as a guest of the City of Cape Town and the SA Navy.

"Libertad is Spanish for 'freedom' - and the visit of this magnificent vessel coincides with South Africa's Freedom Day celebrations," said Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Helen Zille, who will visit the vessel on 1 May.

Built in Rio Santiago in 1958, the Libertad was incorporated into the Argentinean navy as a training frigate in 1963.

The 3,765 ton ship measures almost 104 metres in length and 14.3 metres across the beam.

Her 27 sails span 2,700 square metres of sail surface and her main mast stands 52 metres tall.

The Libertad is the pride and joy of the Argentinean navy, said Captain Gustavo Díaz Durán, Military Attaché of the Embassy of the Argentine Republic.

“Since the Libertad maiden voyage in 1963, it has travelled over 800 000 nautical miles and visited 513 ports in 69 countries,” said Captain Diaz Durán.

She established the world record for a trans-atlantic crossing between Canada and Ireland by sailing 2,059 nautical miles in 8.5 days, he said.

The commanding officer, Captain Juan José Iglesias, is a veteran of the Falklands War of 1982.

Under his command are 310 men and women including 26 officers, 90 midshipmen, 186 warrant and non-commissioned officers, and eight junior naval officers from Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, India, New Zealand, Paraguay, Peru and South Africa.

“This year, Sub-Lieutenant Thandeka Snail, 24, from the South African Navy will be the first black woman to participate in this world-renowned training course,” said Captain Diaz Durán.

Cape Town is the first stop on the vessel's eight month around the world trip.

Libertad is currently berthed at Quay 2, V&A Waterfront, next to the Table Bay Hotel.

Members of the public will be able to visit the ship from 2pm to 6pm today (30 April), and again from 3pm to 5pm tomorrow (1 May).

As from 2 May the frigate will continue on to another 16 ports before returning to Buenos Aires on 6 December.

The ports include Port Louis (Mauritius), Port Victoria (Seychelles), Mumbai (India), Malaca (Malaysia), Manila (Philippines), Shanghai (China), Pusan (South Korea), Tokyo (Japan), Apra Harbour (Guam), Noumea New Caledonia (France), Sydney (Australia), Wellington (New Zealand), Papeete (Tahiti) and the Isla de Pascua (Chile). - BuaNews



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