TODAY |

Chilean naval ship welcomed by 21-gun salute as it docks in Auckland

A Chilean naval ship with a history of torture docked in Auckland today after a pair of 21-gun salutes.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The Esmeralda is on a seven-month training exercise around the Pacific. Source: 1 NEWS

The TS Esmeralda fired the 21-gun salute in recognition of "New Zealand's Queen and the country," a New Zealand Defence Force spokesperson said.

The Royal New Zealand Navy fired a salute in return from the training jetty on base in Devonport to honour the Chileans.

The Esmeralda that docked in Auckland today. Source: 1 NEWS

A 21-gun salute is the highest gun salute that is given. The navy's last 21-gun salute was at Waitangi on Waitangi Day.

The Esmeralda is on a seven-month training exercise around the Pacific.

It's first stop was in Wellington and it's next stop is in Sydney, Australia.

The captain of the ship, Claudia Maldomado, said they are visiting nine countries in total and return home on January 5 next year.

He told 1 NEWS he has felt very welcomed in New Zealand.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The Esmeralda is on a six-month training exercise around the Pacific. Source: 1 NEWS

"It has been a fantastic time," he said. "We make many friends."

There are 278 people on board the ship from 13 different countries, including one New Zealander.

During their time in Auckland, football and volleyball matches will be played between the Chilean and Kiwi sailors.

"It's a great way to enhance the friendship between the navy - we will share a burger and beer and become friends," Mr Maldomado said.

After the ship docked, Chileans did a traditional dance. Source: 1 NEWS

But the Chilean naval ship hasn't always served as a symbol of good will - in fact, just the opposite. It was used as a torture centre under Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship.

In 2004, Chile's navy admitted torture took place on board soon after the military coup in 1973.

The four-masted ship regularly tours around the world and is often targeted by protestors because of its history.