Around the World in 180 Days: India’s First All-Woman Naval Crew Set to Circumnavigate the Globe


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When INSV Mhadei, the sail training boat of the Indian Navy, unfurls its sails for an expedition next year, it will be managed by an all-woman crew. This crew will set out on the third Sagar Parikrama expedition to circumnavigate the globe in August 2017.

The previous expeditions were solo ones, undertaken by naval officers Dilip Donde and Abhilash Tomy.

The crew comprises naval architect Lt. Cdr. Vartika Joshi, Lt. Pratibha Jamwal and Lt. P. Swathi in the core group. They are accompanied by Lt. Vijaya Devi and Sub. Lt. Payal Gupta.

“In my schooldays, I never thought I would join the navy. I wanted to be an English teacher, but then was driven to the Indian Navy by passion, thanks to my days in Delhi University. Today, I’m happy that I have been included in the team to circumnavigate the globe,” Vijaya toldThe Times of India.

The team is now undergoing training for the voyage and aims to complete it in 180 days.

Mhadei_4

Photo source: indiannavy.nic.in

The crew set sail after participating in the International Fleet Review from Visakhapatnam and made stops at Chennai and Kochi, to reach Goa. The sixth member of the crew, Lieutenant B. Aishwarya, is an engineer and is expected to join the boat next month.

“We find time for reading books, listening to songs and watching movies. We are from different parts of the country. We cook on a rotational basis and hence we get to taste a variety of food,” the crew members said.

The vessel can store up to 12,000 litres of drinking water, which will be converted from sea water using a reverse osmosis plant.

In 2017, however, the crew will be going on a new vessel which is currently being constructed by Aquarius Fibreglass Private Limited in Goa. They will undergo sailing sessions on the new boat before setting sail next year.

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