Peru Hosts V International Symposium of Navies of the Americas

Peru Hosts V International Symposium of Navies of the Americas

By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo
December 18, 2018

Sailors of the Western Hemisphere strengthen navigation systems knowledge as well as professional and friendship bonds.

The Peruvian Navy’s Naval War College (ESUP, in Spanish) brought together service members of 13 Western naval forces at the V International Symposium of Officers of the Next Generation of Navies of the Americas. During the event, carried out aboard training ship BAP Unión and other premises of the Peruvian Navy in the Callao region, participants shared knowledge and experiences on navigation safety, October 22-26, 2018.

In a friendly atmosphere, 88 young officers from the navies of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, the United States, Guyana, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay discussed structure, planning, and navigation in the bridges of participating navies’ units. The objective was to share lessons learned on modern navigation systems and the human factor.

“The presentations must highlight the latest events that took place when using only electronic [nautical] charts or other electronic resources; it’s necessary to resume traditional navigation in the training and instructional stages,” Rear Admiral Carlos Tupac-Yupanqui Bromerg, commandant of ESUP, told Diálogo. “For example, the U.S. Navy uses paper charts as an alternative resource, a sort of plan B for navigation. Their main chart is digital.”

According to information shared in the symposium, paper nautical charts are functional for two reasons. “First, by nautical doctrine, the officer in training understands how electronic digital charts work based on paper chart positioning, gathering the necessary information for safe maritime navigation,” Ecuadorean Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Luis Bonilla, head of the Maneuvers Department, told Diálogo. “Secondly, they are used to prevent possible failure in the navigation system, which is why it’s convenient to have an analogical backup.”

In an effort to spread the defense and security culture, the officers exchanged experiences from their navies. “The main challenge was to sum up efficiently how our Navy is organized, how we work with surface officers and explain the balance that exists between the human factor and technology in security and navigation,” Lt. j.g. Bonilla said.

The event created a network of contacts among the young sailors that will allow them to share lessons learned, and strengthen bonds of friendship and direct communication to promote more fluid interaction in the future. “The experience was rewarding; we learned a lot and enjoyed all the activities the Peruvian Navy officers planned daily,” said Lt. j.g. Bonilla.

Mutual trust

ESUP conducts the international symposium of navies every year since 2014. Each symposium is unique with its own specific focus. For example, the third symposium, held in 2016, was exclusively for female officers. The previous four editions featured visits to the Amazon. In 2018, a trip on the Peruvian Navy’s BAP Unión replaced that visit.

“This type of event helps develop mutual trust, which is the cornerstone of cooperation and interoperability, reaffirming bonds of friendship and camaraderie among young officers from the navies of the Americas,” said Rear Adm. Tupac-Yupanqui. “We want to work in the same way and increase the participation of U.S. Southern Command, as we did in 2018.”

International cooperation, values, and leadership

In the framework of academic collaboration, the young naval personnel attended the Values and Leadership international forum, where they expanded knowledge in areas related to skills and abilities management to benefit their institution and themselves. For example, they learned about international relations, how organizations in different countries work, their main objectives, processes to consolidate cooperation in the Americas, and values promoted in their navies.

“Foreign attendees had the opportunity to share a sailing trip with officers of other navies, an opportunity available to few. Hearing the experiences and professional knowledge of other countries also helps increase the cultural background of each navy officer,” said Rear Adm. Tupac-Yupanqui.

“The young members of the navies of the Americas should maintain the essence and mystique of the armed forces in each country in the region. As we saw at the symposium, it’s a similar essence with a similar instructional background that doesn’t change, despite borders and cultural diversity. It’s a single military entity that unites us in a single hierarchical respect and a single background,” Lt. j.g. Bonilla said.