Around the World in Eight Months

By Anantha Narayanan K 19-Jul-2018

INSV Tarini with all-women crew completes historic circumnavigation

Adding one more glorious chapter to the country’s maritime narrative, the Indian Naval Sailing Vessel Tarini (INSV Tarini) with its all-women crew has returned home. Braving through storms literally and figuratively, the vessel has reached Goa harbour alongside the INS Mandovi jetty on completion of the 254-day long circumnavigation voyage making history as the first Indian all-women crew to have completed such a mission.

The all-women crew of Tarini has been welcomed home with aplomb at the jetty by Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister, who had also flagged them off on 10 Sep last year. Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral AR Karve, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, senior officers, and enthusiastic members from the naval community both serving and retired, as well as civilians were present at the Naval Boat Pool to welcome INSV Tarini.

Speaking at the occasion, Nirmala Sitharaman has said that she was extremely honoured and feels humbled before the crew of team Tarini for what they have achieved. “It’s not the girls achieving, it’s the youngsters from India achieving. The women of this country have shown that it is possible for the youngsters, if they want to do something, that they can indeed do it, by showing commitment, grit, and dedication,” she said.

Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff, said, “The grit and determination displayed by the young women officers would definitely encourage future generations to take on daunting challenges and strive for success”. The vessel was skippered by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, and the crew comprised Lieutenant Commanders Pratibha Jamwal, P Swathi, and Lieutenants S Vijaya Devi, B Aishwarya and Payal Gupta.

Lt Commander Vartika Joshi said, “We knew at the very start of this voyage that we had a daunting task ahead. However, the many challenges we encountered brought in a new-found strength from within, which we ourselves never knew we were capable of. Our close bonding helped us overcome those difficult times.” It was also a time for happy reunion of the crew with their families after a period of over eight and half months.

During the voyage, the vessel has covered over 22,000 Nautical miles, visiting five countries – Australia, New Zealand, Falkland Islands (UK), South Africa and Mauritius. At each of these countries the crew received a rousing welcome both from the Indian diaspora as also from the local community. During the course of her voyage, the vessel has met all criteria of circumnavigation, viz. crossing the Equator twice, crossing all Longitudes, as also the three great capes (Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope). The expedition has been covered in six legs, with halts at 5 ports: Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), Cape Town (South Africa) and Port Louis (Mauritius).

The crew and the vessel have encountered rough seas on numerous occasions during the voyage. The extremely cold climate coupled with stormy weather conditions especially in the Southern Ocean made the task of circumnavigating the globe highly daunting and challenging. The vessel has also witnessed winds more than 60 knots and waves up to 7 meters high, whilst crossing the Pacific Ocean.

The indigenously-built INSV Tarini is a 56-foot sailing vessel, which was inducted in the Indian Navy in February 2017, and has showcased the ‘Make in India’ initiative on the International forum. The expedition titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ is in consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential.