The former Tugboat ATF Lautaro, a unit that for 31 years served in the Chilean Navy, since this July 4 is named BAE Imbabura and on her mast the flag of the Republic of Ecuador flies. This change was made within the framework of the Jupiter project, a donation agreement signed on November 28, 2022, that contemplated the transfer of the ship from the Chilean Navy to the Ecuadorian Navy, where it will perform various services protecting the coasts and the coast.
The delivery ceremony of the now Height Tugboat was held at Pier 360 of the Talcahuano Naval Base, and was chaired by the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Navy, Admiral Juan Andrés de la Maza and was attended by the Most Excellent Ambassador of Ecuador in Chile, Roberto Izurieta, the Honorary Consul of Ecuador in Concepción, Eliu Gutiérrez, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ecuadorian Navy, Vice Admiral John Merlo and Special High Command Officers and special guests also participated.
Admiral De la Maza indicated that this is a very relevant milestone for the Chilean and Ecuadorian navies “ that further strengthens and consolidates the relationship that exists between the two nations ”. He recalled that both navies have maintained strong and close ties of cooperation and friendship, “ which have translated into multiple activities throughout history, such as academic exchanges, operational exercises and transfer of naval material.”
From now on, the Ecuadorian endowments will be the faithful custodians of the extensive history of tradition of “Lion of Magellan”, as it was known in the Chilean Navy, multipurpose platform that served for logistical support and contributed numerous tasks to the mission area of defense of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Vice Admiral Merlo pointed out that with the incorporation of this ship “ naval power will be strengthened and the operational capabilities of our force will be increased. This unit has conditions to operate as a height tug, logistical support, instruction, for Antarctic expeditions, search and rescue, patrol and as a mothership to control island spaces to combat drug trafficking, organized crime and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing near the Galapagos Islands Insular Exclusive Economic Zone.”
Added, that this ship joins the Naval Squadron bearing the name of one of the Ecuadorian provinces and one of the volcanoes “ area considered a midpoint between the coast and the Amazon, which constitutes a meeting area between cultures, merchants and the land of great heroes and heroes of our nation”, he stressed.
Meanwhile, the first Commander of BAE Imbabura, Lieutenant Commander Cristian Ortiz, together with detailing the work plan developed these months to leave the unit in operational conditions and thank the support provided by the Chilean sailors to achieve the success of the project, indicated that it is an honor and privilege to be in command of this ship, “ but also an enormous responsibility, since together with my endowment we have the challenge and the commitment to maintain the legacy and mystique of the endowments of the Chilean sailors of the former Lautaro ATF. Rest assured that this ship will arrive at a safe harbor in Ecuador and sail the seas to carry out all operations that the naval command provides.”
For his part, the Commander of the Reserve Ship Group, Frigate Captain Roberto Herrera, after recalling the multiple missions accomplished by the ship in its 31 years of service, those that are mostly closely linked to the Antarctic territory, added that from now on a new stage begins for the former ATF “Lautaro” and highlighted the commitment of its new endowment, “ who worked tirelessly to have unity at the highest standard, both on deck and in their machinery, achieving the necessary synergy for this great challenge, so I hope that the good star that accompanied the unit continues with the BAE ‘Imbabura’, so that they forge their mystique”, he stressed.