The Spanish Navy training ship ‘Juan Sebastián de Elcano’ will start her 96th training cruise tomorrow morning, January 13th. A voyage that will visit six countries, in addition to the scheduled calls in Spanish ports during the next seven months.

The training cruise begins in Cadiz, with stops in Las Palmas (Canary Islands), Fortaleza (Brazil), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Manzanillo (Mexico), San Diego (USA), Balboa (Panama), New Orleans (USA), Boston (USA), London (United Kingdom) and Marin (NW Spain), where the midshipmen of the Naval Academy will finally disembark. A total of 10 ports before returning to her home base on July 21st.

The ship is under command of Captain Luis Carreras-Presas do Campo and the crew of the four mast brig-schooner is made up of 21 officers, 21 NCOs, 135 seamen and 2 civilians.

The farewell ceremony will be presided by the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy, Admiral General Antonio Piñeiro Sánchez, accompanied by the Mayor of Cádiz, Bruno García León, the Fleet Commander, Admiral Eugenio Díaz del Río, and the Maritime Action Admiral, Victoriano Gilabert, among other military and civilian authorities.

After this ceremony, a mass will be celebrated in the Church of Santo Domingo and the traditional procession of the ‘Galeona’, an image of Our Lady, patron saint of the Spanish Navy until the official declaration of the Virgin of Mount Carmel in 1901, will proceed towards the city of Cádiz where relatives of crew members, together with the public of Cadiz, will see the departure of a ship, already part of the history and landscape of the city.

The purpose of the Training Cruise is to contribute to the integral formation of the embarked students (midshipmen) through instruction and training at sea and in port. They enhance part of the third-year studies taking subjects such as Navigation, Astronomy, Meteorology, Amphibious Operations, Combat Support and Services and Maneuvering. In addition, they will learn to sail in the traditional way, giving priority to sailing whenever possible in the 143 days at sea, crossing the Atlantic, sailing up the Thames and Mississippi rivers, and crossing the Panama Canal twice.

Beyond the formal education, the cruise has a substantial and irreplaceable formative and educational value for the personal training of future Navy officers.