Friends from Chile keep custom and spirit alive across the Pacific.
(Photo Credit: Mario Artaza)
The Chilean community in Hong Kong organised a series of activities to commemorate their country’s Navy Day on 21 May. On board was Captain Jaime Camacho, Defense and Naval Attaché at the Embassy of Chile in the People’s Republic of China alongside Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau José Miguel Gonzalez. Captain Camacho was an officer on the Chilean Training Ship “Esmeralda” when she last visited Hong Kong, back in 2002.
The activities begun early with a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of Chilean Navy Midshipman Carlos Krug, who is buried in St. Michael’s Catholic Cemetery in Happy Valley. Krug died in November 1900, a few days after the arrival of the Chilean Naval Training Ship “General Baquedano” to Victoria Harbour, while on the vessel’s first cruise to ports in the Pacific. Midshipman Krug is the only member of the Chilean Armed Forces to have died while on duty and whose mortal remains rest in Asia. A religious ceremony for his soul was held at the Cemetery’s chapel led by Spanish priest Timoteo Merino.
The highlight of the commemoration activities was the donation of a bronze bust of Chilean Naval hero Captain Arturo Prat to the Hong Kong Maritime Museum’s Director, Richard Wesley. The piece will be showcased alongside the scale model of the Chilean corvette “General Baquedano”, as a reminder to all visitors of the lasting naval and maritime links between Hong Kong and Chile. These stretch back to the middle of the 19th century when Chile became the first Latin American country with a Consular and Trade Office in Canton, which was to be followed by a similar post in Hong Kong. Captain Arturo Prat was not only a Naval Officer but a Lawyer as well, and his commitment to fulfill his duty has earned him the respect of many navies around the globe.
To finalise the event at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, the newly elected President of the Chile Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce, Marcelo Rosas, along with members of the Executive Committee, Dominic Cheng and Michael Britton, presented former Chilean Consul General and first President of the Chile Chamber of Commerce, Mario Artaza, with a maritime themed plaque, as a token of appreciation and wishes of success as he embarks on new professional responsibilities with a link to the Asia Pacific Region at the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Santiago with a link to the Asia Pacific Region.
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