The Peruvian Navy’s training sailing ship, B.A.P. Union, which was completed in 2016, called at Tokyo International Cruise Terminal for the first time.
The B.A.P. Union, with a total length of 115.75m, 3,200t, four masts, and 34 sails, was built in Peru as a training sailing ship to train the future navy to commemorate Peru’s 200th anniversary of independence. She is one of the largest sailing ships in Latin America, and her figurehead bears the Inca navigator Tupac Yupanqui (the supreme commander of the Incan army). The ship’s name, “Union,” comes from the Peruvian Navy’s corvettes that served in the South Pacific War (1879-1883, also known as the Saltpeter War).
Commenting on the launch of the voyage this year, which marks the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Peru and Japan, Captain Jose Luis Arce Corso said, “It is significant that we were able to call at this port in this milestone year. It is our mission to communicate our friendship with Japan and Peruvian culture,” he said.
However, B.A.P. Union’s path to Japan was not a smooth one. She was originally scheduled to commemorate Peru’s 200th anniversary of independence by retracing the route taken by the frigate Amazonas in 1856, but she was unable to depart due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She then departed on June 17, 2023, when COVID-19 pandemic had subsided, and made port calls to Japan via Tahiti, Guam, and several other locations. Her crew numbered 246, including 97 third-year Naval Academy students and 149 crew members. After her port stop in Japan, the B.A.P Union will depart for South Korea, where she will visit 14 countries in 10 months.
During her port call in Tokyo, she welcomed Ana Cecilia Hervasi Díaz, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Peru and Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, and a reception was held on board. Booths were set up inside and outside the sailing ship, and special products such as Peruvian alpaca products, folk crafts, beer, and wine were introduced. At the beginning of the reception, the Peruvian folk instrument, the cajon, was played by players and the foreign ministers of both countries. Afterwards, a colorful Peruvian folk dance was performed. The reception was held in a very peaceful and friendly atmosphere amid the pleasant breeze on board.
Peru is Japan’s neighbor across the Pacific Ocean, and is a pro-Japanese country in South America where many people of Japanese ancestry live. I sincerely hope that the friendly relationship between Peru and Japan will continue to grow and prosper.