Pothashang News Service: Imphal, June 12, 2018: Lieutenant Shougrakpam Vijaya Devi, North East first woman sailor among six naval officers who circumnavigate the globe in 254 days in was today felicitated at Little Flowers School, Imphal, organised by the Assam Rifles and the school.
The expedition ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ has been the first-ever attempt by an all-woman crew to circumnavigate the globe, covering more than 22,000 nautical miles. The expedition started on September 10 last year.
“Being in a team of an all women crew to sail across the globe is a wonderful experience,” Vijaya told the students.
“Due to lack of awareness the potential youth of Manipur do not join the naval service. Our society divides profession according to gender. If we take the right approach any profession can be taken up both by boys and girls,” said Vijaya Devi.
She also recalled that on January 8, the ship was hit by very high waves, around 9-10 metres surging the boat at a wind speed of 60 knots. It was quite challenging for us, she told the students.
The team sailed across three ‘Great Capes’ of the continents in the Southern Ocean – Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, Australia’s Cape Leeuwin, and South America’s Cape Horn. They crossed the Equator twice, drifting in the van-de-stadt designed Tonga 56 boat captained by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, with her crew comprising Lieutenant Commanders Pratibha Jamwal and P. Swathi, and Lieutenants S. Vijaya Devi, B. Aishwarya and Payal Gupta.
Vijaya Devi, 28, is the fourth of the five children of Shougrakpam Kunjakishore and Bina Devi.
Her father, Kunjakeshore Singh, served in Manipur Rifles and her mother, Binasakhi Devi, was a school teacher. Being the only daughter, her parents were initially reluctant to send her for further studies.
After graduating from DM College of Arts in Manipur, she pursued her Masters in English from Delhi University. She subsequently graduated with a BEd degree before being commissioned into the Indian Navy in December, 2012.
On International Women’s Day, 2018, President, Ram Nath Kovind awarded Shakti Puraskar 2017 to Vijiya Shougrakpam and five other women who sailed across four continents and three oceans with INSV Tarini.