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All-women crew onboard Indian Navy's Mhadei reaches Port Louis

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INSV Mhadei received by MCGV Retriever. An Indian Navy photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Braving rough seas whipped up by the South West monsoons, Indian Navy sail boat Mhadei with an all-women crew on Tuesday sailed into Port Louis in Mauritius, 20 days after it had set off from Goa.

This is the first open ocean voyage by an all-women crew on any vessel of the Indian Navy.

Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, a naval architect, is the first woman skipper of Mhadei. The boat is crewed by Lieutenant P Swathi, Lieutenant Pratibha Jamwal (Air Traffic Control specialists), Lieutenant Vijaya Devi, Sub Lieutenant Payal Gupta (both education officers) and Lieutenant B Aishwarya, a naval architect.

The 2,100 nautical miles voyage was covered by Mhadei in 20 days, a statement by the Navy said.

The timing of the voyage was chosen to expose the crew to rough weather that they are likely to encounter during their attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 2017.

Mhadei encountered winds of up to 35 knots and a swell of up to 5 m during the onward leg from Goa to Mauritius.

This adequately met the training aims of the voyage. The strenuous journey also provided the crew with an opportunity to consolidate their theoretical and practical training undergone so far.

The return journey from Port Louis to Goa is slated to commence on June 24. Mhadei is expected to arrive in Goa in early July.

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