Indian Navy ship in Jeddah as part of seven-month voyage to 13 countries


Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — Traditional and basic sailing with the wind and sails, overcoming challenges and learning to get their sea legs the old way still lives on in the tall ships in every naval fleet.

“It provides the core theme of seamanship that not only enhances professional sailing skills but provides sailors a chance to face the basic realities of the seas to make them a real sailor in every sense of the word,” said visiting Indian navy officials along with top Indian diplomats here Saturday.

INS Tarangini, a Sail Training Ship of the Indian Navy, is on three-day visit to Jeddah as part of a seven-month long voyage to 13 countries including Saudi Arabia with the theme ‘Sailing through Different Oceans and Uniting Nations’.

The visit is aimed at enhancing defense cooperation and interaction between important navies of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed, speaking to media, along with ship commanding officer Cdr. Rahul Mehta and Consul General Noor Rahman Sheikh, onboard INS Tarangini, which arrived in Red Sea Port in Jeddah, said that learning sailing skills on board the high mast sailing ship is adventurous part of training. “It also trains them to get their ‘sea sense’ in every sense of the word,” Javed said in emphasizing the role of a Tall ship in the naval fleet in the modern times.

Indian Ambassador said the arrival of this ship is another facet of the growing ties with the Kingdom, with the Indian Navy nurturing its ties with its counterpart in Kingdom in recent years. “Besides naval cadets other cadets of defense forces are also being trained in India.”

“Building upon the rich and longstanding relations that have existed between India and Saudi Arabia, both nations have developed warm relations in several spheres. The current visit seeks to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries of the Indian Ocean and, in particular, to strengthen the existing bonds between India and Saudi Arabia,” he said.

“Ship visits by the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard are symbolic of our desire to enhance our cooperation with the Kingdom in matters of defense. The visit of these Naval Ships will assist in promoting understanding and furthering interoperability between the two Navies,” he added

Cdr. Rahul Mehta, while stressing the role traditional sailing plays in making a sailor, said that naval cadets go through a unique and hands on experience of sailing on this ship. They learn to face the elements and sail through rough and calm seas and are ready for any sailing challenges.

Cdr. Mehta said that INS Tarangini passage provided good sailing experience to the crew and ample opportunity to the trainees to hone their practical seamanship and navigation skills. He said that he was one of the cadets who learned about seas on this ship 18 years ago. “Today, I am at the helm,” he smilingly added.

INS Tarangini is a three-masted barque, commissioned in 1997 as a sail training ship for the Indian Navy. She was constructed in Goa shipyard and launched on Dec. 1, 1995. In 2003-04, she became the first Indian naval ship to circumnavigate the globe.

Unlike modern and advanced ships of the Indian Navy, it has a steel hull with aluminum deck house and teak wood deck and interiors and ropes for traditional sailing and wind navigation. The ship earlier visited Jeddah in 2015 and this was her second visit.

The ship, which was flagged off from Kochi Naval base on April 10, is on her second leg, docking in Saudi Arabia after Oman and it is scheduled to visit another 15 ports in 13 countries, covering more than 20,000 KM.

It will also participate in the culmination of the Biscay Tall Ship race at Bordeaux, France, and also a 'Tall Ship race' starting from Sunderland, UK. It is Navy’s first sail training ship.

It carries 20 sails, with a total sail area of almost 10,000 sq. ft. It has excellent endurance and can remain at sea continuously for over 20 days. It has a crew of five officers and 43 sailors and 13 cadets. It can accommodate and impart sail training to 30 cadets in each trip between port visits.

Over the years, the ship has been extensively deployed over long periods away from her base port and has participated in 'Tall Ship races' on four occasions.

During the races, it has brought laurels to the country by winning the class races, first amongst all participating naval ships and being awarded a special award for traveling the farthest from the home port to participate in Lokayan-04.

Indian Naval assets have been increasingly deployed in recent times to address the main maritime concerns of the region. In addition, the Indian Navy has also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with Hydrographic Survey, Search and Rescue and other such capacity building and capability-enhancement activities.

The current deployment into the Mediterranean will contribute towards the Indian Navy’s efforts to consolidate Inter Operability and forge strong bonds of friendship across the seas.

The ship earlier welcomed members of the Indian community and schoolchildren on board and briefed them on life and times at sea.