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.

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