This fall Lieutenant (Navy) (Lt(N)) Sean Place had the privilege of embarking in BAP Río Putumayo II, an Itinerant Social Action Platform (PIAS in Spanish) vessel of the Peruvian Navy.
Río Putumayo II and its five sister ships provide an invaluable and unique service by bringing government services to small, remote communities in the Peruvian Amazon and Lake Titicaca regions.
During his time in Río Putumayo II, Lt(N) Place visited 22 different communities on the Putumayo or Amazon Rivers for one or two days each, where he accompanied the commanding officer in meetings with the cacique, or village leader, to discuss individual problems faced by his or her village.
“We frequently ate, played sports and participated in cultural activities in order to build trust and good working relationships,” said Lt(N) Place. “Many people were very interested in me because I was the first foreigner to visit their community, and I was treated with great hospitality to Amazonian meals such as crocodile, piranha and wild pig.”
During the course of his six-week REGULUS exchange in the Peruvian Navy, Lt(N) Place said he learned a great deal about riverine navigation, but even more about the realities of life in a remote part of the world.
In an area that is only accessible by river or air, the PIAS-class ships, commissioned in 2015, and are based in Iquitos, a city of 300,000 people. For the Peruvian Navy, this base provides convenient access to the Amazon, Putumayo, Napo, Tigre,…