Congratulates Lt. Cdr. Tomy for non-stop circumnavigation

President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said the sponsorship of terrorism through non-state actors and across the seas was a matter of deep concern for the entire nation.

Speaking at a reception to maritime reconnaissance pilot Lt. Cdr. Abhilash Tomy, after his record 150-day, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe, Mr. Mukherjee said historically India had always stood for peace. “Our commitment to peaceful co-existence stems not from weakness but is based on a mature understanding that peace alone can help a nation achieve its objectives of social and economic development.” Peace could, however, be sought only from a position of strength, a strength sufficient to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime interests, both economic and strategic. A nation’s social and economic wellbeing were intricately linked to the seas, not only for trade, but also how it faced threats to its security that develop across the seas.

Remarkable feat

The President congratulated the Navy and Lt. Cdr. Tomy, skipper of Mhadei, saying that to sustain a long voyage of 150 days on sea, sailing through some of the most treacherous oceans, was a remarkable feat. “This rare achievement, the first by an Indian, showcases the spirit of determination, resolve and courage of both the individual and the organisation he represents.”

Battling waves of 9-10 metre height and wind speeds in excess of 100 km per hour, coupled with Antarctic chills, could be an extreme test of human endurance. To undertake crossing of the three Capes — Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope — alone required courage, determination and grit of the highest order. This achievement of Lt. Cdr. Tomy would continue to be a source of inspiration to future generations. Also, his epic voyage had placed India in the ranks of a select countries that which undertook such a venture.

An official statement said that on April 6, Lt. Cdr. Tomy wrote a new chapter in India’s rich maritime history by becoming the first Indian to circumnavigate the Earth under sails — solo, nonstop and unassisted.

He set sail out of Mumbai on November 1, 2012 in INSV Mhadei to undertake a voyage no Indian had attempted before and few had dreamt of. In fact, so far, less than 80 people in the world have successfully completed such a voyage.

Thanks mentors

Lt. Cdr. Tomy said his voyage was a fulfilment of 14 years of dream and four years of hard preparation. He thanked his mentors, Vice-Admiral M.P. Awati (retd) and Cdr. Dilip Dhonde, and builders of INSV Mhadei Ratnakar Dandekar of Goa.

The journey or Sagar Parikrama II spread over 22,000 nautical miles, crossing the Indian, Southern, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, was a non-stop endeavour, using sails, without touching any port or receiving assistance. The circumnavigation took him South of the continents of Australia, South America and Africa and during the voyage, he braved temperatures from four to 40 degrees Celsius, and wind speeds of over 125 km per hour apart from ten metre high waves. Often he was 4,000 km from land.

The 56 ft sloop Mhadei was custom built for the Indian Navy in 2009, said the release, on the banks of the river she was named after by Mr. Dandekar of Aquarius Fibreglas Pvt Ltd.