Mhadei sailing with an all-women crew enters Chennai
Indian naval ships Vikramaditya, Mysore and Deepak are visiting Male from February 15-18, 2016, after participating in the International Fleet Review. The ships are part of the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet based at Mumbai. INS Vikramaditya, one of the two aircraft carriers is a state-of-theart ship, capable of operating a versatile range of high-performance aircraft, such as the MiG-29K fighters, Ka-31 AEW helicopters, multirole Seakings and utility Chetaks. The ship is over 285 metres long and 60 metres wide. Her 23 decks scale a height of 60 metres. She is accompanied by indigenously constructed INS Mysore, a frontline missile destroyer, and INS Deepak, the fleet tanker.
During the visit, the warships will have professional interactions with the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) for further enhancing the close cooperation between the two forces. In addition, a number of sports and social engagements, aimed at strengthening ties and mutual understanding between the two navies, are also planned.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet, Rear Admiral Ravneet Singh, NM, is flying his flag onboard the Vikramaditya which is commanded by Captain Krishna Swaminathan, INS Mysore is commanded by Captain M. Paul Samuel and INS Deepak is commanded by Captain Sujit Kumar Chhetri.
The Navy’s famous sailing vessel Mhadei, skippered and crewed by an all-women crew of naval officers for the very first time, entered Chennai port recently, after participating in the International Fleet Review 2016. The sail boat had left Visakhapatnam on February 9 and is scheduled to make stops at Chennai and Kochi ports en route before reaching her home port at Goa.
Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, a Naval Architect, was appointed as the first woman Skipper of Mhadei on February 8 just prior to her return voyage. The boat is crewed by Lieutenants P. Swathi, Pratibha Jamwal (Air Traffic Control Specialists), Vijaya Devi and Sub Lieutenant Payal Gupta (both Education Officers). The sixth member of the crew, Lieutenant B. Aishwarya is an Engineer and is expected to join the boat next month.
The women officers are training to form an all-women crew that would attempt to circumnavigate the globe next year. Mhadei will remain at the ports of Chennai (February 13-16) and Kochi (February 23-26) on her return journey. She will eventually return to Goa on March 2. This is the first all-women crew to man any ocean-going sailing boat of the Navy. All the crew members are volunteers and are driven by their passion for adventure and a love for sailing and the seas.