February 18, 2019
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Science & Technology

King of Spain backs celebration of first sailing expedition around the world

Madrid, 8 Feb (efe-epa).- The king of Spain expressed support on Friday to a Spanish exploration society that is to re-enact one of the world's greatest seagoing feats, the first circumnavigation of the world.

King Felipe VI met with representatives of the Association of Friends of Great Spanish Navigators and Explorers (Agnyee) who briefed the monarch on their project "500 years after: Following the path of Juan Sebastian Elcano," on the occasion of this year's 5th centenary of the epic journey led by Elcano and Ferdinand Magellan.

Portuguese explorer Magellan, at the service of the King of Spain, led a five-ship expedition in 1519 that sought to circumnavigate the world, but he died halfway through due to injuries sustained during a skirmish against natives on the island of Mactan (Phillippines).

Spain's Captain Juan Sebastian Elcano took over command and managed to sail back home on the sole surviving ship, the Nao Victoria.

The members of Agnyee civic society led by their president, José Solá, briefed Felipe at his Madrid palace of Zarzuela on the details of the historical voyage re-enactment that will feature the sailing boat "Pros."

Pros is a 21-meter (68 ft) sailboat with a volunteer crew that will man the ship on its three-year, 44,000 nautical miles (81,488 kilometers) sojourn covered by the Nao Victoria.

The project foresees that the Pros will set sail from Seville on Aug. 10 with the return date set at Sept. 8, 2020.

During its voyage, the ship will drop anchor at the historical points of the original voyage, plus some new ports of call, mainly in Latin America.

The Pros' itinerary is to include Seville, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Tenerife, Río de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, San Julián, Magallans' Straits, Puerto Mont, Valparaíso, Callao, Guayaquil, Galapagos, Guam, Mactan, Timor, Caope Town, Cabo Verde Islands, Sanlúcar de Barrameda and then back to Seville.

At the scheduled ports of call there will be diverse joint activities with Spanish cultural, diplomatic and economic institutions overseas plus private sponsors and backers.

On the other hand, the Pros will take samples of ocean water in search for microplastics providing the latest data for a scientific study led by the Spanish Oceanographic Institute.

The project's leaders seek to recall the hardships of the world's first circumnavigation, its historical background and its significance in today's world.

It will also highlight the role of the Kingdom of Spain in what they describe as the first globalized expedition that buried the concept of a Flat Earth.

Agnyee is a non-profit organization founded in 2015 by a group of individuals linked the world of navigation who seek to highlight the feats of Spain's great explorers and navigators and their legacy to Humanity.

Felipe VI has chaired previous acts related to the Fifth Centennial of the first circumnavigation, including the National commission created to commemorate the event.

The king called those present to "project Spain's current image abroad" as a nation that "in recent decades has experienced one of its most intense periods of modernization, opening, and influence on the international stage."

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