On 26th July the Frigate ARA Libertad will arrive at Queen Elizabeth II Cruise Terminal, Eastern Docks, Berth 38, in Southampton, where the Argentine Ambassador to the United Kingdom R. Carlos Sersale di Cerisano will welcome the crew of 27 officers, 187 non-commissioned officers and 61 training officers. In her role as Ambassador of the seas, the vessel carries a message of peace, friendship and a will to build bridges with the world.
The ship’s arrival at the docks of Southampton will mark the half-way point on the 46th midshipman training voyage, under the command of Captain Fernando Maglione: a journey spanning 6 months, including 13 ports, and 10 foreign countries, 4 from the American Continent and 9 from Europe.
Last summer, 14 years on from her anchoring in the UK, the Frigate Libertad arrived in Liverpool, where she was welcomed by thousands of Liverpudlians and Argentines who visited her. As a part of the cooperation among armies from all over the world, every year the Frigate invites cadets from different countries in order to develop professional skills and connections to contribute to peace keeping efforts around the globe.
This year, Benjamin Wood, a British cadet from the Royal Navy, set sail in Argentina on 25th of March this year and disembarked in Willhelmshaven (Germany) at the end of June. He shared the experience with cadets from Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, Brazil, Italy, Greece, France, South Africa and China.
In total, the Frigate ARA Libertad will navigate 23 thousand miles in 2017 to cover the seas of the world, from Fortaleza (Brazil); Veracruz (Mexico); Charleston (USA); Miami (USA); Den Helder (Netherlands); Wilhelmshaven (Germany); Malmo (Sweden); Boulogne Sur Mer (France); Southampton (United Kingdom); Barcelona (Spain); Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain); Río de Janeiro (Brazil) and Montevideo (Uruguay), to the port of Buenos Aires on 7th October 2017.
The historic ship will be open to the public (free entrance/no bookings) on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th, from 11am to 4pm. On Sunday 30th July, the frigate will set sail for Barcelona. Among the activities on board, at every port the Frigate showcases the exhibition “Arte Libertad 2017”, with paintings from 6 Argentine provinces.
Successor to the Frigate Presidente Sarmiento — built in the Cammell Laird & Co. shipyard in Birkenhead — Frigate ARA Libertad was built by Astilleros y Fábricas Navales del Estado (AFNE) in Río Santiago (Buenos Aires), between 1953 and 1956. In addition to her flawless naval design, she boasts details like a figurehead carved by the Hispano-Argentine sculptor Carlos García González, which represents “the Republic and its ethos of freedom”.
The ship’s maiden voyage took place in 1963 under the command of Frigate Captain Horacio Ferrari. Since then, she has spent 17 of her 53 years at sea, covering over 800,000 nautical miles and visiting over 500 ports in 60 countries. The vessel boasts a significant educational legacy; around 11,000 Argentine seamen have been trained aboard. In 2004, after nearly 50 years of service, she underwent mid-life repair; restoration works that will keep it active for a few more decades.
• RECORD: The Frigate ARA Libertad received the Gran Medalla in 1966 and also set the World Speed Record for crossing the North Atlantic — which she still retains — covering 2,058 miles from Cape Race (Canada) to the line between Dublin/Liverpool, in just 8 days and 12 hours.
• TROPHIES: The Boston Teapot Trophy — an event organised annually by the Sail Training Association - eight times, with over half of her crew still trainees. The prize is awarded to the vessel covering the greatest distance in 124 hours. The Frigate Libertad won in: ‘66, ‘76, ‘81, ‘87, ‘92, ‘98, ‘00 and ‘07.
• DIMENSIONS: The Frigate Libertad is 104 metres long and 14.3 metres wide, and can carry 3,765 tonnes. It has 27 sails with a total surface area of 2,650m2 spread over 5 masts, the largest of which is 50 metres tall.
SCHEDULE IN SOUTHAMPTON
• 26/7 | 6pm: Arrival of Frigate ARA Libertad (open to the general public).
• 28/7 | 11am to 4pm: Open to the general public for free visits.
• 29/7 | 11am to 4pm: Open to the general public for free visits
• 30/7 | 11am: Departure to Barcelona.