CARTAGENA, Colombia – The Peruvian naval training vessel Union, the largest sailing ship in Latin America, moored in Cartagena, Colombia, on Wednesday, the second stop on its international maiden voyage.
The Union was built completely in Peru by Servicios Industriales de la Marina S.A. SIMA-PERU, and – after the STS Sedov, which operates as a training vessel for students from the Russian universities in Murmansk, St. Petersburg and Arkhangelsk – it is the second-largest such vessel in the world.
The ship is commanded by Peruvian navy Capt. Gianfranco Polar Figari and had a crew of 237, including officers, cadets completing their third year of Peru’s Naval School, and assorted other personnel.
The ship was built to be a portion of Peruvian territory on the high seas and abroad and serves as an “itinerant embassy representing the Peruvian State by means of the image of national and maritime power in the diplomatic, cultural, commercial and military areas,” the Peruvian Embassy in Colombia said.
In its capacity as a training vessel, the Union has an auditorium, a library, computer facilities and lecture halls to allow naval cadets to receive instruction in navigation, astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, hydrography and naval maneuvers and operations.
The Union has four masts and 34 sails, is just under 116 meters (380 feet) long, displaces 3,500 metric tons and has accommodations for 257 persons.
On the prow of the Union is a bronze sculpture of Inca navigator Tupac Yupanqui, a prince, warrior and emperor, the successor to Pachacutec.
The vessel will remain in Cartagena until Aug. 29, when it will continue its voyage to San Juan; Puerto Rico, Havana; Miami; Veracruz and Balboa, Panama before returning to Peru in about three months.