A team of 30 NCC Navy wing cadets drawn from four colleges are on a 422-km expedition

The fifth Tamil Nadu Naval unit of the National Cadet Corps picked up its sailing expedition as part of the coveted Samudra Manthan 2013 that had commenced last week, under the NCC Group Headquarters, Puducherry.

The 422-km sailing expedition that commenced from Puducherry on June 25 tests the ability of the cadets to negotiate the tides, inclement weather, and the accompanying rigours and sustenance of sea life. The cadets, who had arrived here on completing half the length of the expedition, set sail on drop keel whaler boat to commence the second half of their expedition from Nagapattianm port on Tuesday.

Picking up the expedition from Nagapatinam up to Thopputhurai, the cadet-sailors picked up their oars to row for the Samudra Manthan 2013 — the annual contest that would eventually confer on the winning unit the prestigious title as the Most Enterprising Naval Unit, by the All India Directorate.

For the 30 young NCC sailors, constituted from four colleges, the expedition is a culmination of a two-month training rigour. The sailors were trained for their expertise in swimming, rowing, dropping the sail, and safety rigour among other traits.

The sailors included cadets from Annamalai University, St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchi, St. Joseph’s College, Cuddalore, and T.B.M.L College, Porayar.

Earlier, flagging off the rowing, Collector T. Munusamy urged the young to take to NCC for the discipline it inculcates and the training it imparts. Cadets had an edge over others in recruitments by the Government, the Collector said.

Colonel M.K. Joshi, Group Commander, NCC Group Puducherry, told The Hindu that the assessment of the expedition by the sailor-cadets would be based on varied parameters such as the length of the expedition, activities undertaken en route, which would include engagement with the local communities at the place of halt to create awareness on ecology and environment. The expedition this year focussed on issues of environment and climate change that would include themes such as “say no to plastics” among others, Colonel Joshi said.

The sea was a tough taskmaster and sea training involves ruthless training in boat handling. The expedition was set to accomplish this, said Commander P.S. Rana, TNNU, NCC Unit, Tuticorin.

The NCC Group Puducherry was slated to conduct the Nau-Sainik Camp (NSC) soon, which through rigorous sea training, would confer a sea certificate that would enable cadets to find a service in the Navy. The boat was accompanied by a trawler with a diver, and medical assistance. The commanding crew included Colonel Nair, Camp Commander of the expedition.

The expedition is scheduled to conclude on August 5, when the sailors would disembark in Puducherry.