SANTA RITA, Guam -- The Spanish Navy Frigate Mendez Nunez is re-tracing the voyage of the Magellan-Elcano circumnavigation of the world 500 years ago as part of their current deployment that brought them to U.S. Naval Base Guam Sept. 15.
Cmdr. Antonio Gonzalez Del Tanago de la Lastra, commanding officer of the Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate, explained that Guam is one of many important port visits and that this is part of the mission to do what Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan did in 1519.
“Our mission is to complete a worldwide deployment, we are sailing eastward from Spain, we are circumnavigating the Earth and the selection of Guam was because it was a key port in the exploration of Magellan-Elcano,” de la Lastra said.
Magellan organized the Spanish expedition from Spain in an effort to find a sea route to the East Indies from 1519 until he was killed in the Battle of Mactan in the Philippine islands in 1521. The voyage was completed by Spanish explorer Juan Sebastian Elcano.
“At that time they were able to survive and continue the trip, because they found Guam they were able to re-supply,” de la Lastra said. “So it was so important for this mission that it was selected by the Chief of Naval Operations of Spain to be part of our deployment.”
The Mendez Nunez has sailed to ports in Bombay, Jakarta, Manila, and Bangkok. Sailors from the frigate had the opportunity to tour Guam, visit various historic sights, and enjoy local foods.
“There are some similarities from Spain and we share many of the same traditions and we’ve had a very good time here,” de La Lastra said. “I want to thank the U.S. Navy to Guam and the naval base as we have been very well supported here.”