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Spain: Military honors and maritime ceremonial

Last modified: 2016-03-20 by ivan sache
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Military honors and maritime ceremonial

The military honors and maritime ceremonial are prescribed by Title XXII of the Royal Ordinances of the Navy, approved by Royal Decree No. 1024, adopted on 23 May 1984 and published on 30 May 1984 in the Spanish official gazette, No. 129, pp. 15,232-15,252 (text), as follows:

Article 621.
In ports and anchorages where several warships are located, the ensign shall be raised and lowered, following the signal of the Chief of the Bay [Jefe de Bahía, Senior Officer]. In the presence of ships of foreign navies, the national anthems will be played in the alphabetical order of the names of the various countries in the Spanish language, that of Spain in the first position.

Article 622.
During twilight, when another warship is under way, every ship of the Navy moored or anchored will raise the flag at the gaff, without honors, lowering it when the other ship moors, drops anchor, or moves away.

Article 623.
When a ship puts to sea, the ensign will be lowered from the stern staff and raised at the gaff at the moment the anchor is weighed or the last line is cast off. The operation will be carried out in reverse when dropping anchor or securing the first mooring line. It will always be raised at the gaff when under way.

Article 624.
When a ship is anchored or moored in foreign waters, it will raise the jack during the same time as the ensign. In national [Spanish] waters, it will do so on days of dressing ship, Sundays, festivals, and in the presence of a foreign warship, from the time it is anchored or the first mooring line is secured, lowering it when the anchor is weighed or the last line is cast off.

Article 627.
During all salutes by cheering or by cannon, each insignia [rank flag or command pennant] should be lowered to half mast and fluttered when saluting one of equal or higher rank to the senior officer [aboard]. It will be raised to the truck upon finishing the salute.

Article 628.
During gun salutes to foreign installations, ships, or dignitaries, the ensign of the nation to which the installation, ship, or authority belongs will be kept raised at the truck of the foremast. In these cases, insignia will not be lowered to half-mast.

Article 629.
To salute by cheering, the formation of the guard will be divided into port and starboard sections. The crew will man the rails. The salute will begin the moment the dignitary to whom honors are being rendered steps onto the deck, at which instant his insignia will be broken. Upon departure, the salute will begin the moment the boat carrying the dignitary pulls away from the gangway or when he steps onto the ground. The insignia of the dignitary will be lowered at the end of the last viva or gun, and the appropriate flag or pennant for the ship will be broken [y romperá canasta la que corresponda]. On pushing off, the boat will [abrirá - open?] and remain stopped between the beam and the stern of the ship until the end of the salute.

Article 630.
In full-dressing ship, the national ensign will be raised at the trucks and the jack at the jackstaff. Between the jackstaff and the foremast will be located the red and white flags of the Code, alternating one pennant for every three or four rectangular flags; between the foremast and the aftermast will be located the white and blue flags, in the same manner; the rest of the flags between the aftermast and the stern. In sailing ships the distinctive sign will be suspended from the bowsprit.

Article 631.
Dressing ship will consist of raising the national ensign at the trucks and the jack at the jackstaff.

Article 632.
Flags for dressing will be raised and lowered simultaneously with the national ensign.

Article 633.
In the presence of foreign ships, whether or not in national [Spanish] waters, whenever dressing is appropriate, such ships will be invited to do so. Equally, invitations made in this spirit by warships or naval authorities of another country will be reciprocated, in which case the flag of that country will be raised at the truck of the foremast.

Article 638.
Boats under way fly the national ensign at the stern from [morning colors] to sunset on days of dressing ship, when carrying an armed force on board in the presence of foreign warships, or when carrying out reconnaissance of ships or the coast. In foreign ports it is always flown from sunrise to sunset.

Article 639.
Insignia hoisted on small craft, upon passing in proximity to ships, will be saluted only with the honors of forming the guard and sounding the corresponding bugle calls. Only the passage of the standard of H.M. The King will be saluted with cheers or, as appropriate, with guns. On the passage of foreign heads of state, honors by cheering will be replaced by manning the rail.

Article 640.
The insignia or distinction that should be raised in a boat carrying a dignitary with the right to one will be displayed in the bow at the moment of pushing off from the ship or pier and will be recovered at the word of the bow when going to moor again.

Article 641.
On first visits to the commanders of foreign ships or naval forces, the boat carrying the officer charged with paying compliments will carry, besides the national ensign, the command pennant.

Article 643.
When national or foreign merchant ships salute warships upon meeting at sea or in port by lowering their ensigns, the warship will reciprocate by lowering its own ensign one time to half mast.

Joseph McMillan, 8 October 2000

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