An impressive tall ship from southeast Asia stopped in St. John’s Wednesday as part of its second worldwide voyage in 60 years.
KRI Dewaruci is an Indonesian Navy ship carrying 77 military personnel and one member of the media.
It is 58 metres long and towers above the harbour at a height of 36.5 metres.
The ship, completed in 1952, departed from Surabaya, Indonesia, Jan. 14 and has since made stops in several coastal cities, including Honolulu, San Diego, Panama, New Orleans, Miami, New York, Baltimore, and Boston.
Cmdr. Haris Bima Bayuseto is the ship’s captain.
He said there have been challenges through the first six months of the ship’s planned 10-month journey.
“Crossing the Pacific (Ocean) is very, very rough. I had 12-metre waves hit my ship.”
It’s the KRI Dewaruci’s second trip around the world following another voyage in 1964 and the first such experience for Bayuseto.
“It’s a very good experience. I can introduce my country to many neighbouring countries.”
The ship is travelling with cadets from the Indonesian Naval Academy.
Bayuseto said the cadets will use the trip to hone their astronavigation skills.
He describes it as a “character-building” experience that encourages teamwork.
“All (these) men, it’s important for the crew to work together in sailing the ship,” said the captain.
Covering about 5,000 kilometres from east to west, Indonesia has a tropical climate and is the fourth most populous country and the largest archipelago in the world.
It is comprised of 17,508 islands.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Canada. On Friday starting at 6:30 p.m., the Indonesian Embassy will host a reception on the ship dubbed “Indonesian Night at the KRI Dewaruci” involving traditional Indonesian activities, among other festivities.
“We are very proud, because this is a very momentous moment,” said Dienne Hardianti Moehario, Indonesia’s ambassador to Canada, who was in St. John’s Wednesday for KRI Dewaruci’s arrival.
Cmdr. Larry Trimm of CFS St. John’s was also among those on hand Wednesday to welcome the crew of KRI Dewaruci.
This Saturday, KRI Dewaruci is scheduled to begin its voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. Bayuseto said its next stop will be in Portugal. In the meantime, Bayuseto is encouraging people to come visit the ship.
“If the St. John’s people come to my ship, (they’re) very, very welcome.”