Onboard the Training Ship Brasil: Silver Jubilee and Soccer
By Dialogo November 11, 2011
BALTIMORE, U.S.A. – The training ship Brasil is celebrating its Silver Jubilee year with the exhibit “World Cup 2014: Time for Brazil” with tourist information for the cities hosting the World Cup in 2014.
By December, when the 25th Instructional Voyage ends, the vessel will have spent five months visiting 20 ports in Brazil and 17 other counties. The tour is part of the final training cycle for new members of the Brazilian Navy.
During the journey, the future officers are able to finally put into practice everything they learned at the Naval Academy.
“Besides learning navigation, damage control, logistics, loading procedures and astrological navigation, they have an opportunity to learn about protocols and familiarize themselves with other navies and other cultures,” says Capt. Luiz Octávio Barros Coutinho, who assumed command of the vessel in January.
Thousands of visitors tour the ship at each port, including 2,434 in Baltimore, Md., where the vessel docked for two days last month.
In addition to seeing the ensigns’ routine, the public can take a look at eight 1.80m x 1.80m (6’ x 6’) panels with photographs and information about the 12 cities that will host the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The visitors can also watch videos about the country and highlights of Brazil’s national soccer team dating to the 1950 World Cup.
“I was even a bit surprised by the level of awareness that the visitors have about Brazil, even though they know the most about our soccer,” says 1st Lt. Elizabeth Ferreira Pinto, 32.
One of only two women among the 450 sailors aboard the training ship Brasil, it is unlikely that Ferreira Pinto will participate in a similar voyage in the future, since women in the Brazilian Navy generally serve administrative roles, all based on land.
“It’s a question of getting used to the routine, but I still get seasick when the ship starts rocking a lot,” she says.
The crew, which is currently en route to Guayaquil, Ecuador, includes 195 ensigns, 133 of whom come from the Naval Corps, 30 from the Marine Corps and 32 from the Administrative Corps.
The newcomers are taught by the about 200 veterans soldiers who also are on board.
For the first time, the newcomers were able to experience how the routine felt aboard an unstable platform and they learned how to overcome difficulties they never had to endure during their four years of training at the Naval Academy.
Another challenge for the ensigns is spending five months away from their families.
“My son is preparing for his college entrance exams and I can’t give him the advice he needs right now,” says Lt. Commander Elisabeth Ambrosio, 42, who keeps in touch with friends and relatives by email from the ship’s computer room. “But representing the Brazilian Navy to the world is a source of pride for me and my family, which makes this experience far away from my husband and son worthwhile.”
Life on the ship presents daily challenges and requires rigorous discipline. Still, the crew and ensigns insist the ship has become their second home and they will miss the experience when it is over.
“This training voyage has been a unique experience,” says trainee João Celso Silva de Deus, 23. “There’s nothing like the thrill of sailing around the world and learning how to serve my country, both on board, through combat simulations and astrological navigation training, and at port, demonstrating the culture and joy of the Brazilian people.”
Since leaving the Almirante Castro e Silva Base, in Rio de Janeiro, the training ship has docked in 15 cities:
St. Petersburg (Russia)
Le Havre (France)
Fort Lauderdale (USA)
Before returning to Rio de Janeiro, where it is expected to arrive on Dec. 18, the vessel is scheduled to make stops in Guayaquil (Ecuador), Callao (Peru), Valparaíso (Chile), Montevideo (Uruguay) and Buenos Aires (Argentina).