A young woman from Manipur Lt. S. Vijaya Devi became part of an historic team to circumnavigate the globe. It is the first all women team from India to achieve the feat and first from Asia as well. The six member team was headed by Lt. Commander Vartika Joshi and her deputy second in commander Parthiva Jamwal.
Other crew members are Lt. Aiswarya Boddapati, Lt. S. Vijaya Devi, Lt. Swati P and Lt. Payal Gupta.
The team reached Goa on 21st May this year after completing 254 days journey. The team started their journey from 10th September 2017. It was a long and torturous journey but successful in breaking many records.
The team achieved this feat by using a 55 foot sailing vessel named INSV Tarini. According to Defence Ministry spokesperson, “INSV Tarini has sailed over 21600 nautical miles, visited five countries, sailed across four Continents, passed South of the three capes (Leeuwin, Horn and Good Hope) and cross the equator twice!” as twitted by official twitter handle. It further tweeted, “The expedition titled Navika Sagar Parikrama is aimed at promoting women empowerment along with the Government of India’s thrust for Nari Shakti”.
In a tweet the Defence Minister, Ms Sitharaman said she was “honoured to welcome the Tarini team home”. Indian Navy tweeted through their spokesperson, “It is a staggering achievement at many levels – for the @indiannavy that conceived & steered the initiative, for Indian women who just broke one more glass ceiling, for all those involved with the odyssey for daring to dream big 2/n”.
The expedition was originally scheduled to return last month after stopovers at four ports, but it was delayed because the steering gear was damaged. The team was forced to take a fifth, unscheduled stop at Port Louis in Mauritius for repairs.
The expedition has been successful in breaking many stereotypes about travelling in sea by women. The data’s collected by the expedition will be helpful for Indian Navy and MET department.
While reaching Goa the team has been received by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman herself. The team has also been given reception by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he had expressed his heartfelt happiness over the great achievement. He termed the expedition as historical not only from Indian perspective but also from international perspective. The President of India is slated to give them formal reception and they will be conferred Nari Shakti Puruskar 2017.
Lt. Vijaya Devi is an outgoing young woman hailing from Kwakta in Bishnupur District of Manipur. She has done her graduation from DM College and right from her college days’ she is known for outgoing and friendly nature. She had participated in many extra-curricular activities right from her student days.
The expedition called for both mental and physical fitness. Being an all women team it was not easy to spend so many days at sea but they were in contact with family through social media and other means.
They get special training for the expedition for about a year. It was an extremely challenging expedition as they encountered rough seas, high stormy conditions and severely cold temperatures. Besides, circumnavigating the globe, the crew also collected and updated meteorological, ocean and wave data on regular basis for accurate weather forecast by Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). It also reported marine pollution on high seas. The women crew during port halts, also interacted with local populace, especially children to promote ocean sailing and spirit of adventure.
Recognizing their achievement the six member team has been conferred Nari Shakti Puruskar 2017. The Award was conferred to them on the International women Day that is 8th of March by the President of India Ramnath Kovind however they could not received the award as they were sailing at that time.