Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.
New Delhi, 24 May 16
Indian Naval Sailing Vessel Mhadei (INSV Mhadei) sailed from Goa with an all-women crew for a voyage to Port Louis, Mauritius today. The boat is being skippered by Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi (a Naval Constructor). This would be the first open-ocean voyage of the Navy’s all-women crew of Mhadei, who are currently training to undertake a circumnavigation of the globe in 2017.
The crew comprising Lt P Swathi, Lt B Aishwarya, Lt Pratibha Jamwal, Lt Vijaya and Lt Payal Gupta would be undertaking this arduous voyage through rough seas and heavy weather, expected during the Monsoons, in the Arabian Sea. This is a training voyage to expose the young crew to weather that would be faced by them during the circumnavigation in 2017.
All the women officers are keen sailors who took to the sport after joining the Indian Navy. The Skipper, Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi and Lt Swathi have been part of Mhadei crew on earlier voyages. The officers have undergone theoretical training in Navigation, Communication, Meteorology and Seamanship at the navy’s training schools in Kochi. Since then, the Officers have been training under Cdr Dilip Donde, India’s first Circumnavigator, who undertook his voyage on the same boat, in 2008-09.
The all-women crew circumnavigation of the Globe would be undertaken on board the new sailing vessel of the Navy presently under-construction at M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa. The yet-to-be-named boat is expected to be delivered to the Navy by Feb 2017. The Navy is in the process of setting up an Ocean Sailing node at Goa to promote Ocean sailing and a spirit of adventure amongst young naval officers and sailors. Mhadei and her sister vessel would be based at this node in Goa.
The exploits of this all-women crew on board Mhadei, alongwith accounts of their voyage and photographs, can be followed on the Facebook page ‘Mhadei’. The boat is expected to enter Port Louis on 11/12 Jun 16 and return to Goa by early Jul 16.