The Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Consuelo Valdés, arrived at the Molo de Abrigo de Valparaíso this Friday, February 25, together with the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Admiral Juan Andrés De la Maza to verify the boarding process of the Moai Tau aboard the Barge LST-92 “Rancagua”.
The process of transferring the statue of more than 700 kilos, from the National Museum of Natural History, was carried out by ASMAR personnel, who prior to its displacement built a new metal base of 116 kilos, making a special packaging for its protection from 194 kilos, which implies a total weight greater than 1,250 kilos. Later they put him on a truck and took him to the Molo de Abrigo de Valparaíso to be shipped.
On the occasion, Minister Valdés indicated that “this is a very special moment, it is practically the last stage of a commitment we made with the Rapa Nui community, at the beginning of 2019 with the restitution of the Moai Tau that has embarked on the Barge. ‘Rancagua’. I want to express my deepest gratitude to the Navy, to ASMAR, who yesterday carried out a diligent maneuver to remove the Moai from the second floor of the Natural History Museum. This Moai arrived on the continent 152 years ago aboard a Navy ship, the Corvette O’Higgins, and look what a coincidence that it is now the Navy itself that returns, restoring the Moai to the Rapa Nui community. The value behind this is very significant, the symbolic gesture of the Navy and the restitution of cultural property to the original peoples”.
While Admiral De la Maza pointed out that “I want to thank everyone present, especially the people of ASMAR who made it possible for us to reach this moment. For us it is also a tremendous pride, and an honor to return this Moai to the island in a Navy ship, just as it left 152 years ago. Also, this demonstrates the commitment that the Institution has with isolated communities and compatriots who are further away from the central zone of the country. These ships such as the Barcaza “Rancagua”, “Chacabuco” and the “Aldea” are ships that in their secondary role are there to support isolated communities and that is what we are doing today. We don’t just do it with the island of Rapa Nui, we do it with the Juan Fernández Archipelago, with the inhabitants who live south of the big island of Chiloé;
For his part, the Commander of the Barge “Rancagua”, Frigate Captain Esteban López, stated that “for the crew it is an honor and a privilege to be able to participate in this very beautiful challenge that the State of Chile has imposed on us in restoring this valuable charge to a valuable territory such as Rapa Nui”.
The Chilean Navy Unit will set sail during the early hours of Monday, February 28, to provide logistical support to the Rapa Nui community, along with resupplying the Hanga Roa Naval Station; transfer educational material belonging to JUNJI; in addition to the transfer of medical supplies to the Hanga Roa Hospital. Subsequently, the Barge will travel to the Juan Fernández Archipelago to carry out maintenance of the maritime signaling.
It should be noted that, in its transit to the island territory, the Ship will also carry out control and inspection of the fishing fleets that are in the maritime space and marine parks, to protect the Exclusive Economic Zone of our country.