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President receives INS Tarangini
Josy Joseph in Kochi | April 27, 2004 08:50 IST
President A P J Abdul Kalam received INS Tarangini, the Indian Navy sail ship that circumnavigated the globe, with much fanfare and to the accompaniment of traditional Kerala music in Kochi on Monday.
Set against the summer sky, the navy unveiled a colourful display as its ship, which travelled around the world for 15 months, visited 37 ports in 18 countries and covered some 33,000 miles, returned.
INS Tarangini arrived at the port mouth where Kalam, accompanied by navy chief Admiral Madhavendra Singh and other officers, boarded it.
Kalam said the ship had "indeed re-established the tradition of sea voyages set by Columbus with a purpose", but INS Tarangini covered 11 times the distance that he covered and took just twice the time.
"Columbus had discovered a new continent through his mission, whereas you have travelled through all the continents except Antarctica and won the hearts of the people of the continents you have visited," Kalam said.
"INS Tarangini, a three-masted ship, might not be India's most advanced ship but it is where the Indian Navy teaches and tests its officers and sailors before entrusting them with modern warship. Even in today's high-tech world the sail ship teaches the cadets basics that no navy can do without," Kalam said.
Some 300 officers and 60 sailors participated in the expedition during which not only navy's trainee officers participated, but also those from several countries.
During its journey only once was the ship forced to start its engine, otherwise depending on wind and its sail. It also endured severe Mediterranean storms in March 2003.
Admiral Singh said it was a historic moment for the navy because it was for the first time that one of its sail ships had circumnavigated the globe.
The admiral said the navy was determined to "spread our sails and go further", pointing out the recent naval efforts to patrol seas in the vicinity as well as to coordinate with several countries to monitor sea-lanes of communication.
Admiral Singh said the navy was facing a situation where its number of ships would come down because of the delay in commissioning new ships.
But the situation would be controlled by extending the lifespan of its old ships, including that of INS Viraat, India's only aircraft carrier, which is slated to retire in 2007, a couple of years before Admiral Gorshkov enters service.
More reports from Kerala