The Indian Defence Ministry has officially marked the start of construction on the Indian Navy's new sailing vessel with a keel laying ceremony at Aquarius Shipyard, Dival Island, Goa.
The new vessel, which is the sister boat of INSV Mhadei, will be manned by an all woman crew to set sail for a global circumnavigation.
INSV Mhadei was constructed at the same shipyard and has circumnavigated the globe twice, and accounts for covering more than 100,000 miles over a period of seven years.
During the ceremony, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that the new venture, if successful, will mark the first ever all-women Indian crew embarking on a circumnavigation of the globe.
The global circumnavigation, termed as Sagar Parikrama, aims to propagate India's maritime history across the world and INSV Mhadei was also sought to encourage the youth to pursue marine sporting and adventure activities.
The all-woman crew is currently being trained by the Indian Navy and are undergoing theoretical training in navigation, communication, seamanship and meteorology at the navy's various training establishments based at Kochi.
The crew was also subjected to exercises of various durations, including operating onboard and being acquainted with the equipment fitted on-board the vessel.
Additonally, the officers had embarked on their first independent voyage from Visakhapatnam to Goa, India, following the conclusion of the International Fleet Review.
The crew is scheduled to set sail to Mauritius next year in a bid to get familiarised with the harsh maritime climate and the rough seas.
The Indian Navy has ordered a second boat of the Mhadei class this year.
The $0.65m contract has a fixed delivery period of one year and the boat is expected to be delivered next year.
Image: An all-women crew training for circumnavigation of the globe. Photo: courtesy of Indian Navy.