Photo: Juan Sebastian de Elcano
The Spanish navy training ship Juan Sebastian de Elcano docked Saturday in the Port of New York, its last stopover before returning to Europe.
The ship, now on its 85th training voyage, arrived in the early hours at the U.S. city from Santo Domingo.
The Elcano will remain moored until Thursday at Hudson River Pier 88 on Manhattan’s west bank, just minutes away from Times Square and other iconic New York venues.
From there it will set sail across the Atlantic to Dublin, after which it will proceed on a European cruise with layovers in Hamburg, Germany, and Fredrikstad, Norway, before returning to Spain.
Launched in 1927, the Spanish navy’s training vessel has sailed in 87 years more than 1.6 million nautical miles across all the seas of the world and has anchored in more than 70 countries.
Measuring 131.1 meters (430 feet) long and with a 13-meter (43-foot) beam, the Juan Sebastian Elcano is also considered a “floating embassy,” representing Spain in ports the world over.
The chief purpose of the training vessel, however, is to prepare future navy officers by getting them used to spending six months of every year at sea.
The crew under the command of Capt. Enrique Torres Piñeyro is made up of 23 officers, 22 petty officers and 139 seamen and ratings, together with five civilian instructors.
The ship was named for Juan Sebastian de Elcano, the first man to circumnavigate the earth from 1519 to 1522 with Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition in search of a western route to the Spice Islands.
Of Magellan’s original five-ship fleet carrying 237 men, only 18 sailors on the Nao Victoria, the only surviving vessel, made it back to Seville in September 1522 under Elcano, who assumed command after Magellan’s death in the Philippines.
The ship’s coat of arms is the one granted by the Spanish Crown to Elcano: A gold castle in a field of gold with cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and clove, crowned with the motto in Latin, around a globe, “Primus circumdedisti me,” or “The First Who Went Around Me.”