As Logos Hope was declared open to the public in Valparaiso, crewmembers heard that the city is known for its painted buildings, cable cars and is nicknamed ‘The jewel of the Pacific.’ It is also the city that saw Chile’s first public library, the first telegraph on the Latin American continent and the world’s oldest Spanish-language newspaper, ‘El Mercurio de Valparaiso,’ which had a journalist present for the event.
As the Director of Public Events, James Edginton (United Kingdom), welcomed guests at the vessel's opening ceremony, he reminded them of the organisation's special history with Chile: “It was 31 years ago that, in our greatest need, your navy aided our first ship, Logos, when she ran aground off the coast of Southern Chile.” The ship became stuck on rocks in the notorious Beagle Channel and had to be abandoned when water flooded in. All crewmembers were unharmed and taken to a Chilean naval base. James added, “We will forever be grateful for the service that your country gave us on that day.”
Logos Hope’s leadership explained that the mayor’s office had greatly helped the ship’s visit to the city. Giving a speech, Advisor Luis Soto called the ship the ‘floating united nations.’ Mr Soto was representing the mayor of Valparaiso, who visited the vessel later that day.
One guest of honour, the Chief of State, Major of the First Naval Zone and Captain of the Fleet, Raúl Zamorano, mentioned an unexpected connection. “I was serving in 1988 and it was a privilege for me to be part of the rescue of Logos.” Several people in the audience showed their surprise on hearing this.
Captain Zamorano continued, “This ship is a floating library, but even more, it is a humanitarian ship which aims to share solidarity and hope among many countries. I congratulate you for your volunteer work. You will always be welcome in our ports and I hope your next visit will be sooner than 15 years from now!” he said, referring to the length of time since a sister vessel had last called in the country.
Logos Hope's current crewmembers were fascinated to meet someone with a connection to such an experience in the organisation's seafaring history and appreciated hearing more from Captain Zamorano directly.