Sailing training ship Esmeralda arrives in London

Rob Powell Tall Ships 1 Comment

THE CHILEAN navy's sail training tall ship Esmeralda arrived in London earlier this week.

The four-masted barquentine made her way up the river on Wednesday morning after spending the previous evening moored near Southend.

113-metres in length and constructed in the late 1940s with a steel hull, Esmeralda was met on her arrival in the capital by dark cloudy skies and rain showers.

The tall ship has not been without controversy and reports have said she was previously "a floating jail and torture chamber" for the political prisoners of General Pinochet.

Nicknamed the White Lady, she entered West India Docks on Wednesday and is open for visits from the public today (August 28th) and tomorrow between 2pm and 6pm.

Photos of Esmeralda arriving in London

The four masts of Esmeralda pass Gravesend in Kent

There was rain and grey clouds to greet the tall ship on the Thames

Esmeralda approaching the QEII Bridge over the Thames

The White Lady transits through the Thames Barrier

Esmeralda approaches the O2 and nears the entrance to West India Docks

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Comments 1

  1. Michael Woodward, a British priest who was tortured in The Esmeralda
    Immediately after the military coup (11th of sept. 1973), Michael´s name was included in the list of those who were ordered, by street loudspeakers and radio, to present themselves to the authorities. He took refuge in the house of a friend but after a few days decided to return home. He told friends that he had nothing to conceal and he refused to consider the possibility of asking for protection from the British authorities. He went back to his house and was picked up by a naval patrol on 22nd September in the early hours of the morning.
    According to witnesses, Michael was taken to local headquarters of the Carabineros, where he was brutally beaten. From there he was taken to the Valparaíso docks and was held both on the Lebu, a merchant vessel commandeered by the Navy, and on the Esmeralda, a naval training ship which at the time of the coup had been transformed into a prison ship. Michael was seen by various witnesses including one who said that he had been tortured and described his injuries. It is assumed that the interrogators, from the Navy´s Servicio de Intelligencia wanted information about some of his friends. He did not betray them.
    A naval doctor from the cruiser Latorre, moored nearby, was summoned to the Esmeralda to attend to Michael. He found that he was suffering from internal injuries which had clearly been caused by severe blows to the body. The doctor told his commanding officer that Michael could not live for more than an hour and he was taken to the Naval Hospital at Playa Ancha. He died on the way.
    A death certificate was issued by the Naval Hospital, stating that Michael had died on September 22
    Ultimately, in January 2002, Michael´s sister – with the help of Chilean friends – was able to bring criminal charges against Pinochet, senior Naval officers, and crew members of the Esmeralda. They included genocide (for religious reasons), torture, assassination, state terrorism, kidnapping, illegal inhumation and exhumation and offences against the Geneva Convention and other international treaties.

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