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Around the world, creating history

INS Tarangini, the sail training ship of the Indian Navy, lying anchored off Kochi on Saturday. The ship will create history when it enters the Kochi harbour on Sunday after completing a voyage around the globe. — Photo: Mahesh Harilal

INS Tarangini, the sail training ship of the Indian Navy, lying anchored off Kochi on Saturday. The ship will create history when it enters the Kochi harbour on Sunday after completing a voyage around the globe. — Photo: Mahesh Harilal  

INS Tarangini, the sail training ship of the Indian Navy, lying anchored off Kochi on Saturday. The ship will create history when it enters the Kochi harbour on Sunday after completing a voyage around the globe. — Photo: Mahesh Harilal

KOCHI, APRIL 24. About five nautical miles off Kochi, the Navy's swanky milky white sail ship, INS Tarangini, lay anchored this morning. The excitement of its 60-odd crew could be seen from a Chetak helicopter, which hovered around the vessel as if to acknowledge its fete. P.N. Tickoo, Commander of Flight 321, was careful not to go too close to the ship, lest the sails might blow away.

The officers and sailors of the ship were preparing for Sunday's mega event. History will be created when the ship enters the Kochi harbour tomorrow morning, to be welcomed by none other than the President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. INS Tarangini will be the first Indian naval ship to complete a voyage around the globe.

Beginning a journey from Kochi in January last year, INS Tarangini crossed all major oceans and seas of the world.

It has visited more than 35 ports in 17 countries, and covered a distance of more than 33,000 nautical miles. The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Madhvendra Singh, who flagged off the world cruise last year, will be here along with Mr. Kalam to receive the ship.

During the 15-month adventure-cum-goodwill cruise, INS Tarangini had taken part in a series of tall ship regatta in the Great Lakes region of North America and won accolades for the country.

Rousing receptions were given to the ship at all ports it visited, said Shoukathali Sheikh, who was the commanding officer of the vessel in its first phase of circumnavigation.

On Saturday, Cdr. Sheikh received the prestigious Nao Sena Medal (NSM) from Admiral Singh at an investiture ceremony held here, for showing exceptional courage in the face of danger. The way he steered INS Tarangini out of a storm while crossing the Atlantic has almost become legendary.

Mukul Asthana, who is in command of the ship in its last leg, is its third commanding officer. P.K. Garg guided the ship in between.

The Indian Navy is among the three Asian countries taking pride in offering their sailors the irresistible enchantment of a sail ship, the natural training ground for them.

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