Madeira will never see Cacine again. The oldest of all Portuguese patrol boats will never again moor in Funchal bay, and will never again sail the seas between Madeira and the Desertas and the Selvagens.
NRP Cacine, designed to navigate the African rivers, just like its nine younger brothers, was struck from the navy list last Thursday. For the statistics, there are still Cuanza and Zaire, as the last resistants of this almost fifty years long odyssey, since on May 6th 1969 NRP Cacine hoisted its national pennant for the first time.
It was involved in many missions, with special emphasis for the accident with the Aragon, in Porto Santo, in 1990, with the islands coast being covered in black oil, and a few years later, in 2002, in a fuel containment mission within the Porto Santo harbour. He was also there when the Prestige sunk. There are also strong connections to Madeira, like the 1977 airplane accident at Madeira’s airport, the storm of October 1993 and the unforgettable 20th of February 2010, the biggest flood registered in Madeira. More recently, it was from this ship that an Air Force helicopter evacuated Francis Zino from, when he needed to be hospitalized.
NRP Cacine, with number P 1140, will never return to Madeira, unless it is chosen to become one of the artificial reefs to be placed on the south side of the islands. If so, it will be welcome, but more than that, he will be warmly remembered by all those who served on it, who boarded it, of just saw it, so many times, in the Funchal harbour.
In the service of the Navy and Portugal, it navigated for more than 18 thousand hours, completing the equivalent to 14 trips around the world.