Visits will be open to the public on Sunday 24 July from 10am to 4.30pm
For the first time since 2002, Argentines in the UK will be able to visit the Frigate ARA Libertad. On its 45th midshipman training voyage, its arrival to the docks of Liverpool — the last visit being in 1992 — marks the half-way point on its voyage, a journey spanning 133 days at sea and 63 days at ports in 10 different countries. In its role as Ambassador of the seas, the vessel carries a message of peace, friendship and the will to build bridges with the world in the year of the Bicentenary of the Argentine Declaration of Independence.
On 23rd July at 9pm, the Frigate ARA Libertad will reach Liverpool Cruise Terminal (LCT), where the Argentine Ambassador to the United Kingdom R. Carlos Sersale di Cerisano will welcome the crew of 27 officers, 192 non-commissioned officers and 132 training officers — 20 per cent of whom are women— on their final year of midshipman training.
The Frigate Libertad set sail on 23rd of April 2016, having already reached Brazilian, US, Dutch and French ports. Three months later, on Sunday 24th the public in the UK will be able to visit the historic ship —free event and open to the general public. On the following day, Monday 25th a wreath will be placed at the Mimosa Memorial that commemorates the 150th anniversary since the first Welsh settlers to Patagonia set sail from the very same port. During the afternoon, a reception with a group of Royal Navy officer and cadets, presidents of APARU and Anglo-Argentine Society and Embassy staff, will be held aboard the ship. On Tuesday 26th, the vessel will set sail for Dublin. The 196-day trip will finish by calling into ports in Spain, Italy, Greece and Uruguay.
Successor to the Frigate Presidente Sarmiento — built in the Cammell Laird & Co. shipayard in Birkenhead) —Frigate ARA Libertad was built by Astilleros y Fábricas Navales del Estado (AFNE) in Río Santiago (Buenos Aires), between 1953 and 1956. In addition to its flawless naval design, it boasts details like a figurehead carved by the Hispano-Argentine sculptor Carlos García González, which represents “the Republic and its ethos of freedom”.
The ship’s maiden voyage took place in 1963 under the command of Captain Horacio Ferrari. Since then, it has spent 17 of her 53 years at sea, covering over 800,000 nautical miles and visiting over 500 ports in 60 countries. The vessel boasts a significant educational legacy; with around 11,000 Argentine seamen have been trained aboard. In 2004, after nearly 50 years of service, it underwent mid-life repair; restoration works that will keep it active for a few more decades.
This year, the Argentine Ministry of Defence launched the website www.fragatalibertad.mindef.gob.ar, where browsers can follow the voyage and also take a 360º virtual tour of the ship.
Did you know?
• RECORD: The Frigate ARA Libertad received the Gran Medalla in 1966 and also set the World Speed Record for crossing the North Atlantic — which still retains — covering 2,058 miles from Cape Race (Canada) to the line between Dublin/Liverpool, in just 8 days and 12 hours.
• TROPHIES: The Boston Teapot Trophy — an event organised annually by the Sail Training Association - eight times, with over half of its crew still trainees. The prize is awarded to the vessel covering the greatest distance in 124 hours. The Frigate Libertad won in: ‘66, ‘76, ‘81, ‘87, ‘92, ‘98, ‘00 and ‘07.
• DIMENSIONS: The Frigate Libertad is 104 metres long and 14.3 metres wide, and can carry 3,765 tonnes. It has 27 sails with a total surface area of 2,650m2 spread over 5 masts, the largest of which is 50 metres tall.
SCHEDULE IN LIVERPOOL
. 23/7 | 9pm: Arrival of Frigate ARA Libertad in Liverpool. Cruise Terminal (LCT) Gate 4 (10 Princes Parade Liverpool, L31BG)
. 24/7 | 10am to 4:30pm: Open to the general public for free visits.
. 25/7 | 12.30pm: Wreath placed at the Mimosa Memorial that commemorates the 150th anniversary of the first Welsh settlers setting sail for Patagonia.
. 26/7 | Departure to Dublin.
. Leaves: 23rd April.
. Ports: Recife (Brazil), Baltimore and New York (USA), Amsterdam (Holland), Brest (France), Liverpool (UK), Dublin (Ireland), Ferrol (Spain), Toulon (France), Civitavecchia (Italy), Piraeus (Greece) and Cadiz (Spain), Río de Janeiro (Brazil) and Montevideo (Uruguay).
. Returns: Buenos Aires Naval Base – 5th November.