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Colombia’s tall ship ARC Gloria comes to London

On 6 July 2024 Colombia’s tall ship ARC Gloria, a three-masted steel-hulled barque, arrived in the centre of London. The Colombian insignia ship passing through Tower Bridge along the River Thames was a significant moment in the vessel’s illustrious history.

ARC Gloria, commissioned on 7 September 1968, is the flagship and sail training vessel of the Colombian Navy. She was built in the Celaya shipyard in Bilbao, Spain, and is one of the few remaining active tall ships used for training purposes in the world.

She measures 64.7m by 10.6m, and her mast is 40m in height, and she is also fitted with a diesel engine. The ship is known for its colourful and elaborate figurehead, which features a representation of Gloria, the Roman goddess of glory, symbolizing the ship’s name.

ARC Gloria has a crew of approximately 150, including cadets who receive training in navigation, seamanship, and leadership while on board.

ARC Gloria’s visit to London was part of a larger tour of port cities around the world, aimed at promoting cultural exchange and strengthening international relations.

During her visit, the ship was open to the public, allowing visitors to explore her decks, learn about Colombian naval traditions, and engage with the crew.

The visit coincided with cultural events, highlighting Colombia’s biodiversity and close cultural and economic ties with the United Kingdom. As ARC Gloria sailed past the iconic landmarks of London, including the historic Tower Bridge and the modern skyscrapers of the financial district, she served as a floating ambassador of Colombia, fostering goodwill and showcasing the country’s pride and maritime prowess.

Photos by Fraser Gray

Colombia’s tall-ship ARC Gloria on the River Thames in London
A glorious day for ARC Gloria the Flag Ship of the Colombian Navy as she sails through Tower Bridge in sunshine and showers to the delight of an estimated 3000 citizens of Colombia.
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