The 80 year-old Romanian Naval Academy sail training ship MIRCEA, was retracing its original voyage from Hamburg to Constanta when it visited the Maltese islands. Originally built in 1939 in Hamburg, the three-masted barque is one of a quintet built by Blohm &Voss, Hamburg. Her sisters are the United States Coastguard Eagle, the Portuguese Sagres, the Ukrainian Tovarisch and the German Gorch Fock. While the Tovarish and the Gorch Fock have also called at the Grand harbour, the record is probably held by MIRCEA which first visited the island on her homeward voyage from the builders in 1939. She has since called in 1956, 1966, 1967, 1971 and 1980. Interestingly, the MIRCEA’S current commander was a cadet on board when she called in 1966. At the time she was returning home after a refit by her original builders in Hamburg.
The MIRCEA is named after the Wallachian Prince Mircea the Elder (MIrcea cel Batran 1386-1418). The sail training ship replaced a ship of the same name which served in the Romanian Navy between 1882 and 1940 and was taken over by the USSR during the Second World War; to be returned in 1966. She currently has a crew of 89 and is able to host up to 135 cadets, including guests from other navies. She participates regularly in Tall Ships Races and Regattas and is a familiar sight in many ports around the world. A ‘Round the World Tour’ is planned for 2012-2022 with a view to showcase Romanian spirit and cultural values. MIRCEA is homeported in Constanta.
The Malta Sailing Federation took the opportunity to plan a visit for their young sailors, for which Gollcher Group, being the the Shipping Agent, making such visit possible. The young sailors thoroughly enjoyed the visit and the hospitality offered by the Captain together with his crew.
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