The Peruvian cargo training vessel Ilo arrived in Humboldt County to great fanfare in the fall of 1961, berthing at Dock C at the foot of Washington Street in Eureka to take on a deck-load of lumber.
The 336-foot ship was part of the Peruvian Navy’s auxiliary fleet. According to an Oct. 26, 1961 article in the Humboldt Standard newspaper, commercial as well as military cargoes were handled by the Peruvian Navy’s six auxiliary vessels to give training in military logistics to line officers, regular Navy crew and cadets on board.
Though the Ilo was homeported at the Peruvian Navy Base at Callao near Lima, it regularly docked at the U.S. Navy’s San Diego base, where Peruvian cadets and officers trained with a U.S. destroyer fleet, according to the Humboldt Standard article.
Commercial cargoes carried by the Peruvian auxiliary training ships — such as the lumber loaded in Humboldt County — were used to benefit the Peruvian Navy, the Humboldt Standard reported. Proceeds from the sale of goods obtained in the U.S. on a trade-in-value basis went entirely to the development of Peru’s Navy. No private cargoes were handled by the auxiliary, the newspaper said.
The Ilo, under the command of Cmdr. Jaques Bartra, had eight officers and 31 crewmen on board and stayed in Eureka for several days before departing.
A delegation of local officials — including Humboldt County industrialist Robert Matthews and Eureka Chamber of Commerce President Don Cave — visited the Peruvian crew on the ship and the Ilo’s officers attended an informal reception at the Ingomar Club on Oct. 24, 1961. Cave presented a traditional redwood bowl to Bartra during the visit.
Heather Shelton can be reached at 707-441-0516.