Spanish Tall Ship Visits Galveston

One of the largest and most famous tall sailing ships in the world is in Galveston this weekend, for what officials are calling a goodwill visit with an old friend. Jim Bell reports.

It's the Juan Sebastián de Elcano, a huge 4-masted tall ship the Spanish Navy uses to train young midshipmen for a life at sea. El Cano and her crew of 300 are touring port cities in North and South America, and she's in Galveston for a four day goodwill visit.  Spain's Consul-General to Houston, Miguel Angel Fernández de Mazarambroz, says Spain and Galveston have historical connections.

"Galveston is named after Bernardo de Galvez, who was one of the last Spanish governors of Louisiana and Texas. And he himself was a key man in the Spanish aid during the war of Independence." 

Mazarambroz says this visit is to extend Spain's best wishes to the people of Galveston, as they struggle to recover from Hurricane Ike.

"To help Galveston feel that normality has come back.  And we are glad that the Elcano is coming to Galveston this year."

The Juan Sebastian de Elcano will be docked at Pier 21, next to the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston through Tuesday. The public is invited to tour the ship — free of charge. 

Jim Bell, KUHF, Houston Public Radio News.