Friday, June 8, 2007
Esmeralda ... #18
Warm welcome ... Chile's Esmeralda sailed into Wellington Harbour last week. It is one of the world's largest sailing ships, drawing attention whenever it comes into port. The pride of the Chilean Navy, the Esmeralda might be a magnificent example of marine architecture, but it has skeletons in its closet.
To thousands of Chileans, the ship is a symbol of the country's brutal past. In the weeks after General Augusto Pinochet's bloody coup in 1973, the Esmeralda was used as a floating prison and torture chamber.For thousands who sympathised with the ousted socialist president, Salvador Allende, the ship was a place of beatings, sexual assault, electric shock, and water torture.
However, the Esmeralda's captain said the crew had been made very welcome by the people of Wellington.
more photos of the Esmeralda