Melbourne: The all-women crew of an Indian Navy sail boat was on Wednesday hailed as “heroes” by the State government of Western Australia for taking up an incredibly challenging expedition of circumnavigating the globe.
The six crew of the Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini, led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, started their maiden voyage on September 10 from Goa and is expected to complete it in about eight months.
Last week, the sailing vessel arrived at Fremantle Port, its first and only stopover in Australia. The next stopovers are Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), and Cape Town (South Africa).
Welcoming the Indian women, the state’s Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk said, “I cannot imagine how much bravery, let alone strength and tenacity, it would take to sail around the globe. These women are heroes.
“As a Women’s Interests Minister, I applaud the six crew for what is an incredibly challenging journey and wish them well as they move onto the next leg.”
Minister for Tourism, Defence Issues and Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, Paul Papalia also commended the all women crew, saying “I sincerely welcome Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi and her crew to Western Australia (WA).”
He said that their journey was being watched by millions of people, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi who met the crew before they set off from Panaji.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to show India, an emerging tourism market, the wonders of our State through the eyes of such a courageous and groundbreaking group of women,” he added.
During their stay in Australia, the crew toured some of the best attractions of Perth, including Kings Park and Rottnest Island.
“As a former naval man, I respect the endeavours of the crew of INSV Tarini enormously and wish them well on their journey,” Papalia said.
Sharing her experience, Joshi said that the crew had so far experienced a mix of calm weather and rough seas on their about 5,000 nautical mile journey from Goa.
“The boat needs to be prepared for the next leg, which is going to be even tougher as we are going to transit to the Southern Ocean,” she was quoted as saying in media reports here.
Joshi also said that there was a need for a couple of repairs and servicing of the onboard equipment INSV Tarini.
INSV Tarini is a 55-foot sailing vessel, which has been built indigenously, and inducted in the Indian Navy earlier this year.
“When we are working on board we don’t really bother about gender...at the end of the day it’s the work that’s most important and it’s the goal in front of us that needs to be addressed,” she said, adding that the sea, they say, is gender neutral and so is the response to the sea.