In the engine room of training ship BAP (Peruvian Navy Ship, in Spanish) Unión, navy cadets on board the largest sailing boat in Latin America receive instructions on working with engines, while other cadets rehearse nautical maneuvers on deck.
For five months, 114 cadets in their third year at the Peruvian Naval School sailed through the Pacific Ocean, stopping in 10 ports in five countries. The Instructional Cruise Abroad VIEX-2019, the fourth conducted with the BAP Unión, concluded in late July, when the ship returned to its homeport at Callao Naval Base.
During their trip on the high seas, the cadets received theoretical and hands-on training that allowed them to reinforce their nautical knowledge as well as their skills in a real environment. The students learned to work as a team, discovered new sail maneuvers, and took part in celestial navigation lessons, among other topics.
“We combine technology with features from the golden age of sailing,” Peruvian Navy Captain Kurt Böttger Garfias, BAP Unión commander, told Diálogo. “The opportunity for a cadet to learn in the field is unbeatable. There are exercises that cannot be done in a simulator, or in the classroom, since they don’t offer a hands-on, practical experience.”
Launched in December 2014, the instructional ship is more than 115 meters long and 13.5 meters wide, and has 34 sails. The vessel also has a library, an auditorium, and classrooms to facilitate instruction for cadets.
The BAP Unión is not only a training ship, but it also serves as a mobile Peruvian embassy, promoting friendship and cooperation with the navies of the countries visited. The trip included stops in the ports of Ancón and Chimbote in Peru; Mazatlán and Puerto Manzanillo in Mexico; San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Honolulu in the United States; Vancouver in Canada; and Balboa in Panama.