A military ship from Spain has decided to travel the world in eight months.
The Spanish frigate ‘Méndez Núñez’ docked in Guam last Sunday for a three-day visit in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the first circumnavigation of the world by the Magellan-Elcano expedition.
In 1519, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan launched a Spanish expedition in hopes of finding a profitable western route to the Moluccas or Spice Islands.
Although they were not successful in doing so, their journey has been regarded as the first act of globalization in history.
Commanding Officer of the ‘Méndez Núñez,’ Commander Antonio Gonzalez Del Tanago de la Lastra, explains that their 8-month long deployment aims to mirror the Spanish expedition, with some modifications.
Instead of following the same route, they sailed eastward from Spain touring the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, the China Sea and the Pacific Ocean and returning to Spain by the Panama canal.
Commander Tánago and his crew were able to explore the island, and make the most out of their short stay.
“We have been enjoying Guam, the people, the culture, the food, so a very good time for my crew here. We have some official engagement on the ship and off the ship. But also we have been able to take a tour of the historical sites on the island. We were also able to go downtown to make some shopping to see some beaches … so very good time here,” he said.
Commander Tanago also shares how he feels about being on Guam for the first time.
“Yes, it’s my first time on Guam. I think it’s the first time for all my crew members. So for us, it’s very special. Being able to be here almost 500 years later is fantastic,” he said.
Commander Tanago says their next stop will be Suva, Fiji. According to a Spanish news article, the 500th anniversary will be celebrated throughout a three-year period, with a program of activities mirroring the three years the Magellan-Elcano voyage took to complete from 1519 to 1522.
The ship that will embark on this three-year journey is expected to visit Guam’s port in March 2021.