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The First Woman in the World to Win ‘Bravery at Sea’ Award – Indian Captain Radhika Menon

Indian Captain Radhika Menon, An Inspiration for Many

 “It is a maritime obligation to save souls in distress at sea and, as a seafarer and master in command of my ship, I just did my duty,”

These are the words of the brave and courageous Indian Captain Radhika Menon. She has proved right once again what Eleanor Roosevelt  said, “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” She already made a name for herself by becoming the first female captain in the Indian Merchant Navy. She is at the top of the helm of the oil products tanker, Sampurna Swarajya. In an industry where only 2% of the population is female, I’m sure it wasn’t easy for her to reach the top. But she did, with her dedication and hard work.

Now, she will add another feather to her cap in November 2016. She’ll receive the IMO Award for Exceptional Bravery at Sea. She is the first female to have been selected for the honor. She earned the honor when she along with her crew rescued and saved lives of seven fishermen. These fishermen aboard their fishing boat, Durgamma, were stuck adrift. This happened when due to bad weather their boat suffered an engine failure and lost its anchor. The men were surviving on ice from cold storage as their food supply was washed away in the storm that caused their boat’s malfunction.

“Through wave heights of more than 25 feet, winds of more than 60 knots and heavy rain, on 22 June, the second officer on the Sampurna Swarajya spotted the boat 2.5 kilometres away, off the coast of Gopalpur, Odisha. Captain Menon immediately ordered a rescue operation, utilizing the pilot ladder and with life jackets on standby,” the Shipping Ministry said in a statement.

Acknowledging the brave efforts of the female captain, Government of India nominated her for the IMO award for ‘Exceptional Bravery at Sea’. IMO also accepted that Indian Captain Radhika Menon had shown exceptional bravery and have decided to bestow the honor on her.

Captain Menon  is an inspiration to many and I hope her story inspires females all across the globe to break the gender dogmas and join merchant navy. All across the globe female seafarers are already breaking social barriers and proving their worth. To read about more proud female seafarers click here.


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Neha Gupta

A Professional writer with over 10 years of experience, I love writing and learning about new areas during the process. Writing about merchant navy has given me a close look at the sacrifices made by the seafaring community and it is a pleasure to bring to light, through my blogs, for all to see and view, the hard work and dedication of these unsung heroes i.e. the seafarers.

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1 thought on “The First Woman in the World to Win ‘Bravery at Sea’ Award – Indian Captain Radhika Menon”

  1. A true inspiration for all the females across the globe. You don’t need muscles and brawn to be called Brave. You need to act Brave to be called Brave. She and her team did. Proud of you Captain.

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