“You, up! Climb the main mast!” the giant ship’s commander told a cadet.
Starred straight to that 35.9 meters high pole, the cadet’s gut was immediately shrunken. But in the military life, there is no way you can dispute your chief. So the cadet started to climb.
He made it, at last. Although it took a longer than other cadets’ time. So he’d got some punishment.
This happened decades ago on the board of Dewaruci, a legendary KRI (Kapal Perang Republik Indonesia or Republic of Indonesia Warship). The name “dewaruci” and the figurehead represent a god of truth and courage in Javanese wayang’s mythology: Dewa Rutji.
The cadet in the story is Soeparno, by the way. Now, his rank is Admiral, and his last position was the Navy Chief of Staff. Soeparno has a lot more to tell about KRI Dewaruci. Not just Soeparno, in fact. Most of Navy officials admit, a lot of remarkable stories came from the ship.
The KRI Dewaruci. The largest tall ship in Indonesian fleet. Owned and operated by the Indonesian Navy, Dewaruci is used as a sail training vessel for naval cadets. By sailing the oceans in direct, they are expected to learn the practical knowledge of astronomy, navigation, and shipping work.
What I found interesting about Dewaruci is, it has a unique program. Dewaruci so far does also serve as a goodwill ambassador for Indonesia to the world. Based in Surabaya, Dewaruci holds a mission to promote Indonesian tourism.
Some say, Dewaruci is a floating Indonesia. In every port it stops, they held the Open Ship session for local people. They held a ship tour, cocktail party, traditional art performance (performed by the cadets and ship crews), and some other cultural shows. Not to mention the marching band.
The ship appearance alone is interesting. With the classical exterior and lively ornaments. It’s still in a very good condition for an old ship.
Back in 1932, HC Stülcken & Sohn, a shipbuilder in Germany, begun to construct the tall ship in 1932. But it was suspended due to the outbreak of Second World War, which caused serious damage to the shipyard. Dewaruci project wasn’t finished until 1952.
Then, it launched in 1953. Its main port is in Armada Timur (Armatim) TNI-AL, Surabaya.
So, it’s been more than 60 years now. Like a human at this age, the old ship needs to end its adventure. No matter how good is its performance still, it’s time to leave Dewaruci in peace at naval museum. Say good bye to the old, legendary Dewaruci. And say welcome to the new KRI Dewaruci, the same tall ship with twice bigger space and computerized navigation system.
|Shipbuilder||HC Stülcken & Sohn (Germany)||Construcciones Navales Paulino Freire (Spain)|
|Launched||January 24, 1953||2015|
|Length||58.3 meters||110 meters|
|Propulsion||1 unit 986 HP diesel, with a 4 blade propeller|
|Sail plan||16 sails, 1,091 square meters|
|Speed||10.5 knots with the engine,
9 knots under sail
|Complement||81 crews, 75 cadets||80 crews, 120 cadets|
|Cost||52 million Euros|
Source: Commando Magazine (September 2013), the official web of KRI Dewa Ruci, and Wikipedia.