SAN JUAN – Spanish and Puerto Rican officials welcomed the Galeon, a unique replica of the three-masted ships that sailed the seas in the 16th and 17th centuries, to the port of San Juan.
On hand to welcome the Galeon’s crew and captain Manuel Murube Fernandez were Ingrid Rivera, executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company; Ingrid Colberg, director of the Port Authority; and Tomas Rodriguez-Pantoja Marquez, consul general of Spain in Puerto Rico.
Also in attendance were Jose Octavio Busto, president of the Museo del Mar, located in Old San Juan and responsible, along with other organizations, for the galleon’s visit to Puerto Rico in cooperation with the Nao Victoria Foundation, the ship’s builder.
“These were the most famous ships in the Caribbean. For almost three centuries, galleons wrote the history of the island of Puerto Rico, visiting its ports on their legendary voyages to New Spain,” Colberg said.
The ship will be open to the public until Jan. 17, providing visitors with an opportunity to learn more about this type of vessel, “its operation, the crew’s life on board and the history of its more than three centuries of navigation,” Colberg said.
Galleons dominated trade and cultural exchanges for more than three centuries, sailing between Spain, the Americas and the Philippines.
The sailing ships plied the longest route in terms of distance and duration in the history of sea navigation, an exhibit at the Galeon’s entrance said.
The Galeon was built in 2009-2010 by the Nao Victoria Foundation, based on a design by Ignacio Fernandez Vial, at the Punta Umbria shipyard in Huelva, Spain, and sailed on its maiden voyage on Nov. 30, 2010.
Between the end of 2010 and 2013, the Galeon sailed more than 35,000 nautical miles, visiting dozens of ports on four continents and participating in diverse cultural projects.
The ship’s visit to San Juan provides “an exceptional opportunity for Puerto Ricans and visitors to learn firsthand aboard this unique ship about an important phase of their history,” Nao Victoria Foundation president Juan Miguel Salas Tornero said.