Colombian naval warship visits Jamaica for 50th anniversary
THE WAVES that hit the Colombian Naval ship, Gloria, last Wednesday at sea were 10 metres high. The winds that threatened to topple the 43-year-old vessel were 55 knots.
Such were the horrific conditions the seasoned captain, Josť Guillermo Rodriquez, and his crew of 164 faced on the high seas when they met upon Hurricane Sandy, which wreaked havoc in sections of the island last week.
Sandy was en route to Jamaica, and so was the ship. The hurricane was making an unfriendly call, while Gloria came in honour of the country's 50th year of Independence.
"We were just on the border of Jamaica when the hurricane hit," said Rodriquez.
"It was terrible, the waves were coming at us 10 metres high, making the boat rock."
But the naval warship that was built in 1966 was able to slow down and allowed the storm to pass it. By then the waves were pushing the ship at 100 miles per hour.
Rodriquez said his crew were forced to stay in their rooms strapped to their beds, as it was too dangerous to come out on the deck.
Asked if as commander-in-chief he felt scared, the naval boat captain said no. "I was not scared at all. I have been in worse situations, bigger waves than 10 metres."
worried for crew
He said he was more worried for his crew, "If a bolt is not in place, those winds could have unlocked any area of the boat, causing any part of the boat to fall in any member of the crew's head."
The Gloria withstood the forces, but the crew had a lot of cleaning up to do as water inundated the ship, which was bent on docking at the historic Falmouth Port last Friday.
Having spent the last seven months travelling the world, Jamaica was the last stop before their return to Colombia. Colombian ambassador to Jamaica, Luis Guillermo Martinez, and his team had planned a weekend of activities aimed at meeting with the political directorate and citizens from near and far.