May 31, 2016 - 11:10 ( Brasília )

Argentine Navy’s 'Libertad' Makes Triumphant Return to Sea


Versão em português


Eduardo Szklarz


Training Frigate ARA Libertad, a symbol of the Argentine Navy, is once again freely sailing the world’s seas.

On April 23rd, the ship began its 45th training mission carrying 351 crew members on a tour that will last until November 5th. The crew comprises 27 officers, 192 non-commissioned officers, and 132 students (Midshipmen) from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay, of which 20 percent are women.

“The journey of the Frigate Libertad is a significant gesture in the process of consolidating Argentina’s presence in the ports at which it arrives,” Argentine Navy Press Officer Captain Enrique Balbi told Diálogo .

The ship’s mission is to complete the Cadets' training, strengthen the bonds of friendship with the countries visited, and foster interagency integration with domestic and foreign guests, Capt. Balbi said. “In particular, [the trip] seeks to strengthen cooperation and bonds of mutual trust with the respective Navies."

First stop: Recife, Brazil

The 45th training mission of the Frigate Libertad is a 196-day journey, of which 133 will be spent at sea and 63 docked at foreign ports.

The ship made its first stop on May 6th in the Brazilian port of Recife, the capital of the state of Pernambuco, where it was opened to visitors. The crew was welcomed by Military and civilian authorities in Brazil, and was greeted by the Recife Air Base Band and a frevo orchestra playing the traditional Pernambuco rhythm.

Under the command of Captain Ignacio Errecaborde, the ship sailed from Recife on May 10th for the U.S. city of Baltimore, where it will arrive on June 3rd. It will then visit the ports of Norfolk in the state of Virginia and New York in the state of the same name. The ship will then cross the Atlantic to visit Europe for the first time in seven years. “Over the last four years, its itinerary was limited to waters of Latin American countries, given the risk of being detained at port,” Argentina’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

The ship is scheduled to arrive in Amsterdam (Netherlands) on July 8th and Brest (France) on July 13th. It will then travel on to Dublin (Ireland), El Ferrol (Spain), Toulon (France), Civitavecchia (Italy), Piraeus (Greece), and Cádiz (Spain). On September 22nd, the frigate will depart from Cádiz on its return journey through Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Montevideo (Uruguay) before reaching Buenos Aires on November 5th.

“The journey will consolidate the naval, maritime, and cultural experiences of the cadets and the entire crew by visiting places of professional, historical, and social interest,” said Capt. Balbi, recalling that the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence of Argentina will also occur this year.

The Argentine Ministry of Defense created a website that allows people to follow the frigate’s journey in real time through satellite information. It also welcomes spectators to take a virtual, 360-degree tour of its interior.

Latin American Sails 2014

The Frigate Libertad ’s last trip took place during Latin American Sails 2014, an international tournament that strengthened ties of friendship and camaraderie among the navies of seven countries in the region. The competition, which is held from Itajaí (Brazil) to Veracruz (Mexico), included the participation of sailboats Ice Lady Patagonia II and Dr. Bernardo Houssay (Argentina), Cisne Branco (Brazil), Esmeralda (Chile), Gloria (Colombia), Guayas (Ecuador), Cuauhtémoc (Mexico), and Simón Bolívar (Venezuela).

During a sail training mission in 2012, the Frigate Libertad was detained in Ghana at the request of the fund NML Capital Limited due to the default on Argentine government debt. Argentina filed a lawsuit in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) against the African country's government. On November 28th that year, the International Maritime Organization determined that the Frigate Libertad was a Military vessel and, therefore, “not subject to embargo.” Finally, on December 15th, the ITLOS ruled in favor of Argentina and ordered the ship's release after it had been detained for 77 days.

Record speed

The Frigate Libertad ’s was built entirely in Argentina by State Naval Shipyards and Factories in 1956. It is 104 meters long with a 3,635-ton displacement at full load. It conducted its first training mission in 1963 and has since traveled more than 800,000 nautical miles around the world, spending the equivalent of 17 years at sea. Approximately 11,000 Argentine Navy Sailors have trained on its decks, according to the Ministry of Defense.

In 1966, it won the World Speed Record for Tall Ships crossing the North Atlantic, making the 2,058.6-mile journey between Cape Race (Canada) and the Dublin-Liverpool imaginary line in eight days and 12 hours. In 2001, the Argentine government decreed the ship to be the “ambassador ship of the Republic."

 

 

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