For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Chilean barquentine Esmeralda.

Chilean barquentine Esmeralda

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Esmeralda in Pearl Harbor, 2006
Esmeralda in Pearl Harbor, 2006
OperatorChilean Navy
Laid down1946
LaunchedMay 12, 1953
Nickname(s)La Dama Blanca (The White Lady)
StatusTraining ship
General characteristics
Displacement3754 tons
Length113 m (371 ft)
Beam13.11 m (43.0 ft)
Height48.5 m (159 ft)
Draft7 m (23 ft)
Sail planfour-masted barquentine; 21 sails, total sail area of 2,870 m² (30,892 sq. ft.)
Speedmax 13 knots engine, 17.5 knots sail
Complement300 sailors, 90 midshipmen
Armament4 × 57 mm ceremonial gun mounts

Esmeralda is a steel-hulled four-masted barquentine tall ship of the Chilean Navy.


Esmeralda (BE-43)
Esmeralda (BE-43)

The ship is the sixth to carry the name Esmeralda. The first was the frigate Esmeralda captured from the Spanish at Callao, Peru, by Admiral Lord Thomas Alexander Cochrane of the Chilean Navy, in a bold incursion on the night of 5 November 1820. The second was the corvette Esmeralda of the Chilean Navy which, set against superior forces, fought until sunk with colors flying on 21 May 1879 at the Battle of Iquique. These events mark important milestones for the Chilean Navy and the ship's name is said to evoke its values of courage and sacrifice.

Construction began in Cádiz, Spain, in 1946. She was intended to become Spain's national training ship. During her construction in 1947 the yard in which she was being built suffered catastrophic explosions, which damaged the ship and placed the yard on the brink of bankruptcy. Work on the ship was temporarily halted. In 1950 Chile and Spain entered into negotiations in which Spain offered to repay debts incurred to Chile as a result of the Spanish Civil War in the form of manufactured products, including the not yet completed Esmeralda. Chile accepted the offer and the ship was formally transferred to the ownership of Chile in 1951. Work then continued on the ship. She was finally launched on 12 May 1953 before an audience of 5,000 people. She was christened by Mrs. Raquel Vicuña de Orrego using a bottle wrapped in the national colors of Spain and Chile. She was delivered as a four-masted topsail schooner to the Government of Chile on 15 June 1954, Captain Horacio Cornejo Tagle in command.

Her sister ship is the training ship for the Spanish Navy, the four-masted topsail schooner Juan Sebastián Elcano. Sometime in the 1970s Esmeralda's rigging was changed to a four-masted barquentine by replacing the fore gaffsail (course sail) by two main staysails. The third (top) main staysail is still in place. She has now five staysails, three topsails, six jibbs, three course gaff sails, four square sails, 21 all in all.


Close up view of Esmeralda at Mar del Plata, February 2010
Close up view of Esmeralda at Mar del Plata, February 2010

Her first voyage was to the Canary Islands and then on to New Orleans, where a distillation plant was installed. She then proceeded through the Panama Canal and arrived at Valparaíso on 1 September 1954 to much fanfare.

Since her commissioning, Esmeralda has been a training ship for the Chilean Navy. She has visited more than 300 ports worldwide acting as a floating embassy for Chile. She participated in Operation Sail at New York City in 1964, 1976 and 1986, and the Osaka World Sail in 1983. She also participated in International Regattas of Sail in 1964, 1976, 1982 and 1990 winning the coveted Cutty Sark Trophy in the last two participations.

In 2016, Esmeralda visited New Zealand to participate in the 75th Anniversary Celebrations of the foundation of the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN)

In 2019, Esmeralda visited Singapore in light of the APEC Chile 2019.

Prison and torture centre

Reports from Amnesty International, the US Senate and Chilean Truth and Reconciliation Commission[1] describe the ship as a kind of a floating jail and torture chamber for political prisoners of the Augusto Pinochet regime from 1973 to 1980. It is claimed that probably over a hundred persons were kept there at times and subjected to hideous treatment,[2] among them British priest Michael Woodward, who later died as a result of torture.[3]

Due to this dark part of its history, the international voyages of the Esmeralda are often highly controversial - especially at the time when Pinochet was still in power but even after the restoration of Chilean democracy. The ship's arrival in various ports is accompanied by protests and demonstrations by local political groups and Chilean left-wing political exiles. Such protest actions were recorded, among other places, at Amsterdam,[4][5] Dartmouth,[6] Quebec,[7] Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia,[8] Wellington,[9] Piraeus and Haifa,[10] as well as at Santiago in Chile itself.[11]

General characteristics

  • Length: 109.8 metres
  • Beam: 13.11 metres
  • Maximum draught: 7 metres
  • Stanchion: 8.7 metres
  • Gunwale height: 5.3 metres
  • Maximum displacement: 3,754 tons
  • Maximum engine speed: 13 knots
  • Maximum sail speed: 17.5 knots
  • Armament: 4 × 57 mm ceremonial gun mounts
  • Crew: 300 sailors, 90 midshipmen
  • Sails: 29 total with a sail area of 2,870 m², on four masts
  • Mast height: 48.5 metres

See also


  1. ^ Report of the Chilean National Commission on Truth and Reconciliation Archived February 1, 2013, at the Wayback Machine (English translation of the Rettig report, PDF file)
  2. ^ Esmeralda: The torture ship Archived former site of a committee led by Germán F. Westphal, a former Chilean political prisoner and a professor at the University of Maryland in the United States. They believe the ship should not be allowed in ports as long as the crimes remain unpunished. Last updated 15 March 2006.
  3. ^ My 35-year fight to find Pinochet torturers who killed my brother Archived August 19, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. The Guardian. 8 November 2008.
  4. ^ Volkskrant website (NL) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-28. Retrieved 2016-04-29.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "Protest against Chilean 'torture ship' Esmeralda" (in Dutch)
  5. ^ RTL nieuws website (NL) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-05-22. Retrieved 2016-04-29.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "Again protest against Chilean 'torture ship' at Sail 2015" (in Dutch)
  6. ^ Democratic Underground website (UK) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-25. Retrieved 2011-05-08.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "Unwanted: protests keep Pinochet's 'torture ship' out of Britain", by Terry Kirby, The Independent, 12 July 2003 [1][dead link]
  7. ^ Rebel Youth Magazine "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2011-05-08.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-05-08.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Lisa Cordasco (June 10, 2011). "'Torture ship' unwelcome in B.C., says Chilean ex-pat". CBC News. Retrieved June 10, 2011.
  9. ^ "No Right Turn", "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2011-05-08.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ (Hebrew) article on the website of the Israeli Communist Party, referring to both Israeli protest and that in Greece "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2011-05-08.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Tall-Masted Esmeralda Returns To Chile To Human Rights Protests", Latin American Herald Tribune "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2011-05-08.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Chilean barquentine Esmeralda
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.