MMA Welcomes Indonesian Tall Ship, Crew

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By: Michael J. Rausch
Published: 06/29/12

Gray skies, a lashing wind and drizzling rain did not dampen the spirits of the crew on board the Indonesian tall ship KRI Dewaruci as it made its way into port at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Monday afternoon.

Cadets in the Indonesian navy ascended the ship’s rigging, waving and dancing as the ship approached.

On deck, the ship’s band, featuring a pair of bass drummers bedecked in walrus costumes, played a rousing version of the Bee Gees song “Massachusetts,” a musical salute to the ship’s latest stop on its round-the-world training mission.

Similar to Mass Maritime’s TS Kennedy, the Dewaruci serves primarily as a training vessel for naval cadets.

She is used “to train cadets about sailing, about the ocean and about navigating,” the ship’s captain Haris Bima said.

In addition, she has functioned as a goodwill ambassador for Indonesia to the rest of the world, a role soundly on display as the cadets sang and danced for a captivated audience of Mass Maritime employees and cadets.

As some crew members worked to secure the ship to the pier, the band and the cadets continued to serenade an ever-growing crowd who came down to welcome their visitors.

Not to be outdone by their Indonesian peers, Mass Maritime cadets put on their own show, performing a Western line dance and the macarena, to the applause and delight of the Dewaruci’s crew.

The Dewaruci set sail from its home port in Surabaya in East Java on January 15 this year on a nine-month circumnavigation of the globe.

Here in the United States, the ship has made stops in Hawaii, San Diego, New Orleans, Miami, New York City, Norfolk, Virginia, and Baltimore, where it took part in that city’s Sail Baltimore festivities about a week ago.

Capt. Bima said that from Baltimore, the Dewaruci was scheduled to go straight to Boston to participate in next week’s Operation Sail 2012, when they were invited to stop in Buzzards Bay.

“I was in Baltimore, and I had some time, and the US Navy called me,” the captain explained. “Wow! It’s a good invitation,” he exclaimed, recalling his delighted reaction to the offer.

The KRI Dewaruci is a class A tall ship of the barquentine class.

All vessels in the Indonesian navy are given the initials KRI, which means “Kapal Perang Republik Indonesia” or navy vessel of the Republic of Indonesia.

Dewaruci is derived from Indonesian mythology and refers to the country’s goddess of truth and courage.

Construction of the Dewaruci was started in 1932 by a German shipbuilding company.

The outbreak of World War II led to a 20-year delay in completing the project, when the shipyard was severely damaged.

Finally completed in 1952, the Dewaruci was eventually launched in 1953. Since then, she has been based out of the Indonesian port city of Surabaya, near the Java Sea.

The Dewaruci carries 150 crew, with 77 of them being training cadets. 

It is 58 meters long or 191 feet in length, and only nine meters or 31 feet in width. The ship’s main mast measures nearly just over 36 meters or 119 feet in height.

With its engine, the vessel can reach speeds of up to 10.5 knots. Operating purely under wind and sail power, the Dewaruci can go as fast as nine knots or roughly 11 miles per hour.

The ship’s hull is made of steel, while throughout the vessel the banisters, walls and decks are crafted from teak.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the Dewaruci was open to the public for tours. The ship left Mass Maritime yesterday for Boston.

After taking part in Operation Sail 2012 at Boston Harbor, the ship heads to St. John’s, Canada. From there, she travels to Portugal, then the Middle East before arriving at home in Indonesia on October 16.

After nearly 50 years at sea, the Dewaruci is due to be retired at the end of this voyage. She will be displayed at a naval museum, when construction on a new, bigger tall ship is completed in 2014.


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