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Gearing up for Maritime Day

On April 5,1919, for the first time, SS Loyalty, a ship of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company, sailed from Bombay to the United Kingdom. PRINCE FREDERICK writes about the National Maritime Day celebrations.

EVERY YEAR April 5 is celebrated as the National Maritime Day. It was on this day in 1919 that for the first time a ship, SS Loyalty of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company, sailed from Bombay to the United Kingdom with the Indian flag flying high, says Madhusudan, the honorary secretary, National Maritime Day Celebration Committee, Chennai. The first National Maritime Day was celebrated on April 5, 1964.

This year too, on April 5, a function is to be held at the Seafarers' Club on Rajaji Salai to commemorate this milestone, while there will be another function in the evening at Raja Ananmalai Mandram, Esplanade. The Tamil Nadu Governor, P.S. Ramamohan Rao, will be the chief guest, while Mr. Subhashan Reddy, Chief Justice, Madras High Court, presides over the function. Commodore R.S. Vasan, Commander, Coast Guard Region (East) will be the guest of honour. The Chairman of the Chennai Port Trust, P. Baskaradoss, is to deliver the keynote address.

One of the objectives of the National Maritime Day Celebration Committee ``is to emphasise the fact that we are a seafaring nation. School children are the prime target of this effort. The Committee members visit to schools to encourage children to take up maritime careers,'' says Madhusudan. ``Trips to ships'' are frequently arranged for students.

In fact, this past month, children from city schools paid a visit to MV Swarajdweep, the passenger ship belonging to the Andaman and Nicobar Administration.

India has more maritime achievements that most of us are aware of, he says, adding that 30 per cent of the merchant navy officers in the world are Indians. And captains of the three largest ships of the world are Indians.

Normally, every year gallantry awards for greatest acts of bravery on sea, are presented on April 5. But this year, there haven't been any recommendations so far, he says.

The function also includes a light music programme by Abaswaram Ramjhi's ``Isai Mazhalai'', a troupe comprising child artistes.


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