The Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC along with the the Commander of Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) Navy Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi flagged off a Tall Ship Sail-together from naval base, Kochi on 14 Nov 18. The event which was organised by the the Indian Navy as part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations of IONS, was attended by chiefs from navies and delegates from 26 countries participating in the 10th anniversary commemorative activities besides a large gathering of Indian naval personnel.
The Royal Omani Vessel Zinat-al-Bihaar along with two Indian Naval Sailing Ships Sudharshini, Tarangini, with one each “Sea Rider” from Sri-Lanka, China, United Kingdom, Australia, Bangladesh and Maldives are participating in this ‘Sail Together’ which is planned over a distance of 1200 nm to Muscat and back. It seeks to retrace the maritime trade route of yesteryears between the Malabar Coast and the Persian Gulf. The ships were accompanied by smaller Indian sailing vessels Mhadei which would be heading towards Seychelles while the others would continue towards Muscat. A grand fly past with nine helicopters and three fixed wing aircraft was undertaken to mark the occasion. The event carries with it the memories of a glorious maritime past and the ancient cultural exchange that opened long-distance political and economic relations between the great civilizations of India and those in Persia and Arabia. The route also honours the socio-cultural and maritime history that is shared among populations across the Indian Ocean as a result of this trade.
To have Kerala as the starting point for the sail-together is both apt and befitting. Kerala’s coastal magnificence has been a legendary maritime hub for traders from across the world dating all the way back to the first century AD. Its majestic shipyards known by the iconic Urus, have been in the midst of intense ship-building and maritime trade over 1500 years. Arab traders were especially captivated by these vessels and were among the first major patrons of these boats.
The “Sail Together” would culminate with the Tall Ships being received at Muscat on 29 Nov 18.