Thursday, August 20, 2009

SAIL BUNAKEN 2009: Indonesia holds world's biggest navies parade

Compiled from the original sources: People’s Daily, The Jakarta Post, & The Jakarta Globe

Indonesia held on Wednesday (8/19) a stunning tall ship and war ship parade in North Sulawesi capital city of Manado as part of the world's largest marine event entitled "2009 Sail Bunaken".

Hundreds of yachts, tall ships and 33 warships took part in theparade that was witnessed by navy chiefs of the parade's participating countries and spectators.

All crews of those ships stood alongside the edge of the ships and hailed the spectators and distinguished guests who sat in VIP row with a shout "Indonesia Merdeka" (Independent Indonesia) to celebrate the 64th Indonesian independence day that fell on August17.

The jewel in the crown was the appearance of US Navy aircraft carrier, the USS George Washington. The nuclear-powered vessel — over 333 meters long, as high as a 24-story building and accommodating 80 aircraft — opened the fleet review, followed by other US warships, the USS Cowpens, USS Fitzgerald and USS Mustin.

Several F-18 Hornet fighter planes also took off from the deck of the supercarrier and flew overhead, prompting applause from the crowd onshore.

The fleet review also featured warships from China, Pakistan, India, Australia, New Zealand., France, British, Thailand, Malaysia and some South American countries.

Earlier Sunday (8/16) Indonesia plunged into the Guinness Book of Records after a mass dive as part of the Sail Bunaken 2009 event held in North Sulawesi. The event was organized by the Indonesian Navy in conjunction with the country's Independence Day celebrations and involved 2,861 people diving simultaneously.

Another world record was broken at the same event by the divers, including military personnel and civilians, who held an underwater Independence Day flag ceremony in Manado on Monday (08/17).

The ceremony was the forth world record Indonesia has broken so far, Navy deputy chief Rear Adm. Moekhlas Sidik told Antara news agency.

The breaking of two world records was a special gift for Indonesia celebrating its 64th Independence Day.

The new world records are expected to increase visits by both domestic and foreign tourists to Indonesia, particularly to Manado.

The 2,861 divers broke the world record as they remained underwater for 31 minutes, the longest time so far achieved internationally. The previous world record was broken in the Maldives by 979 divers for only 10 minutes.

The nine-day event, billed as the world’s largest maritime event of the 21st century, winds up today.

The 2009 Sail Bunaken event is scheduled to end on August 20.

Sail Bunaken 2009 Official Website

Galleries - Sail Bunaken 2009